Count them: 4,764 postcards signed and sent by Democrats Abroad to Virginia voters in a push to (finally) ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. With all positions in the Virginia House and Senate up for election on November 5, it’s an opportunity to flip two Republican-held seats. Virginia House chair Kirk Cox, in fact, has made it his business to block passage of the ERA for the past several years. “It would be a pleasure for us to help kick him out,” says Shari Temple, DA Global IT Team chair, who worked with VAratifyERA to spearhead DA’s postcard-writing campaign in September. With 58 Dems Abroad volunteers and teams working around the globe, more than 2,700 cards were posted to Cox’s district, another 2,000-plus sent to Republican Chris Jones’ district. “The original goal was to do 2,000 and we overachieved that!” says Temple. (DA Canada members signed and posted 800 of those cards, with 400 sent by the Hamilton/Burlington chapter alone.) If Democrats replace Republicans in both districts, “there’s a high probability that Virginia will become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment,” Temple explains.
Many think the ERA passed long ago, that it was
a “seventies thing.” In fact, according to a New York Times piece
published earlier this year, 80 percent of Americans “mistakenly believe that
women and men are guaranteed equal protection under the United States
Constitution.” But the only right the Constitution explicitly extends to women
is the right to vote. While Congress
passed the ERA in 1973, it then had to be ratified by three-quarters (numbering
38) of the states. Thanks to Phyllis Schlafly, a Republican anti-feminist, the
amendment was derailed 45 years ago. But supporters never gave up hope that it
would eventually become an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Now Virginia
voters are poised to take it over the top, with DA members around the world
giving it an extra little push.