When people see Equal Rights Amendment or ERA, they think of the pretty much forgotten amendment to the constitution that would have given women the same constitutional rights as men. Not enough states ratified it so it fell to the wayside.
I believe that the people who are currently pursuing that the time limit for the ratification be overturned should expand their sights to more than just equal rights for women. I find that too many feminist are very narrow minded in their approach to equality.
There is so much turmoil even among feminists. Women of color aren’t considered equals by a large portion of the white feminist community. Women of color do not feel that their experiences are included in the fight. They have too many white women who try to triumph the cause on behalf of them. As if they aren’t capable of championing their own cause. That’s only one example (and not even a complete explanation of that example) of how the feminist community is in shambles.
Am I being too much of a dreamer to think that many different communities could work together to truly bring about equality in the constitution? I have seen so many examples in my life where one group gets territorial over a project. I remember when I was an SDA and my church did ministry in New York City after 9/11. So many groups wanted to go into New York to help. The NYC area conferences got very territorial. While it makes sense to have one group facilitating the work of a larger group, I think the help that outsiders wanted to give wasn’t welcome because people from the outside wanted to lead in areas that the NYC group didn’t want them to lead. I fear the feminist community would be the same way if the scope of the ERA were expanded.
But here’s why I think it should be expanded:
1. Women themselves are a very diverse group. Where a woman may be included in a ratified ERA as it is now, she would not have the same rights if she were lesbian or gender queer.
2. So many groups are excluded from the Constitution and their rights have been trampled on because they aren’t included in constitution. Two groups I believe should be included are the groups encompassed by the LGBTQ(et al) communities and the non religious. (Yes, I realize this opens up a huge can of worms as it relates to so many groups that would pop up wanting rights, too. This would not be an easy process to figure out how to include people in the future who may fight for their rights. Possibly an addition of something about groups whose rights don’t infringe on others rights? I’m still thinking about this part of it).
3. Focusing so much on just 1 group of people further divides us as a people. Yes, I am a woman and I want equal rights under the constitution. I also want equal rights for my friends who are in the LGBTQ(et al) communities.
4. I am also a non believer. I do not want religious rights of others to dictate how I live my life. And that’s a huge piece that could be fixed by expanding the ERA.
5. And I just had a thought about what one of the articles of the new ERA could entail. That corporations do not have the rights of a citizen. 🙂
I know that I have not included any references. This is more about me thinking out loud. But possibly my thoughts will get others thinking. Maybe we can start thinking as one nation, indivisible again. A place where Atheists, Christians, Muslims, lesbians, transgendered, immigrants, and everyone else can live in harmony. Kinda reminds me of something a man wrote over 200 years ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Maybe it’s time to invoke Article V of the 1st Amendment?