Phyllis Schlafly died yesterday. To her family, condolences. I’m sure she will be missed as a private person.
As a public person, I can’t think of a single person who has had such a negative effect on the progress of American women and gay people. This lawyer and working wife hypocritically set the clock back for other professional women and wives. She convinced a generation of women who were born too soon for the cultural changes of the 60s and 70s to drag their daughters back to 1950’s fantasyland. She helped block the Equal Rights Amendment. She helped concretize implicit bias in our public lives.
Want to know why Hillary Clinton has faced so much resistance and sexism on the road to the White House? Phyllis Schlafly.
I’m sure she still has her fan base. Public figures like Sarah Palin will sanctify her. There’s another woman who wanted to play it both ways, having power and convincing other women to give theirs up.
We probably shouldn’t celebrate the deaths of anyone but Hitler type malefactors. Schlafly probably didn’t kill anyone (that we know of). But she may have been complicit in the deaths of domestic violence victims, the coming deaths of women who self-abort in states like Indiana, the deaths of careers and the deaths of dreams for women and gay people all around the country.
She overstayed her welcome. She finally left the party.
It couldn’t have come a minute too soon.