Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: This isn’t the ERA era

Al Diamon

If supporters of a state Equal Rights Amendment in Maine were honest, they’d admit the proposal wouldn’t accomplish a damn thing.

Then, they could devote their energies to more realistic endeavors, like, I dunno, affordable health care or climate change or choosing a new state song to replace Kinky Friedman’s “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed.”

It’s not that serious inequalities between the sexes don’t exist. It’s just that a constitutional amendment wouldn’t have any discernible impact on them. As proof, one need only consider racial disparities. More than 150 years ago, Congress passed three amendments to the U.S. Constitution to address those issues. You may have noticed racism is still with us.

Regardless of what state or federal constitutions proclaim, the real problem is an excess of creepy morons, who neither know nor care what the law says. Some of them are president.

As a result, women continue to be paid less than men, face unreasonable barriers to promotion, suffer sexual harassment and abuse, and get passed over for the sweet late-night-hosting gigs on TV. That’s despite the fact there are already laws against most of that stuff. Adding the ERA to the legal mix changes nothing.

The first attempt to pass a state amendment banning sex discrimination was proposed in 1973. It failed in a Legislature mostly composed of men. That same year, those same guys also shot down an effort to have Maine ratify the federal ERA. Two years later, the good ol’ boys relented a bit and approved the fed amendment, but continued to display such hostility to a state ERA that a bill proposing one was withdrawn before it could even go to public hearing. In 1977, a measure merely calling for a study of a state amendment was summarily killed.

In 1984, supporters of the measure took the issue directly to the public. They collected signatures and got an advisory referendum on the ballot pressuring the still overwhelmingly male Legislature to approve the ERA. But ERA backers ran an anemic campaign, while opponents – spurred on by the Christian right – unleashed a barrage of horrifying claims about the amendment’s impact: unisex bathrooms! abortion on demand! same-sex marriage!

The referendum was defeated by landslide numbers. All those predictions came to pass anyway. (Insert ironic snark here.)

The results of that election had such a political impact that the Legislature didn’t even consider another ERA bill for over 30 years. Even though by 2015, a sizable number of representatives and senators were women, it still didn’t pass. Another attempt in 2017 went nowhere. And a bill introduced in 2019 was carried over to the 2020 session after it became obvious it wouldn’t get the two-thirds majority needed to send it to voters.

There are still a lot of pre-pubescent politicians worried they’re going to have to share a bathroom with icky girls or icky boys.

Most of the recent opposition has come from Republicans, who claim there are already enough statutes on the books to protect women. In 2017, GOP state Rep. Stacey Guerin of Glenburn told the House, “As a woman, I stand opposed [to the ERA], and I joyfully celebrate the laws that are already in place to protect my rights.”

Not all those laws, though. Guerin is anti-abortion and opposed to same-sex marriage. Her position on unisex toilets is unclear.

Earlier this year, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills issued a statement citing the progress women have made, but warning these advances are far from permanent. “Those laws which cover discrimination only in specific areas such as housing, education, credit, employment – they are ephemeral,” Mills wrote, “subject to repeal or change at the whim of any particular Legislature or initiative.”

Fair enough. “The Handmaid’s Tale” could come true at any time. But even a constitutional amendment seems flimsy protection against that.

The sad truth is the ERA won’t fix society. At best, its passage would be symbolic. At worst, it would just give the morons another target.

Discriminate against me by emailing aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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26 Responses »

  1. Equality? It's a myth that will never happen, ever, no matter the laws that get passed. For example, if I own a construction company and need to have 100 50lb bags of quickrete moved and I offer to pay a man and a woman $2 per bag they move, and the man moves 60 bags and the woman moves 40 bags, guess who's getting $80 while the other is getting $120. Is that equal pay? Yes. Equal outcome? No. If I hire two women, and pay them the same $13 an hour I pay everybody, woman A is single and has no kids, woman B is single and has 1 kid, woman A works 40 hours, woman B had to leave work for 4 hours because her kid got sick at school so she only worked 36 hours, are they going to have equal paychecks? No. If a woman gets pregnant 3 times in 10 years and the men she works with don't, who is going to get more work done, put in more hours, earn more money and be up for reward within that same time frame, the woman who has taken 36 weeks worth of maternity leave and several dozen days off for doctor's visits and general child care requirements or the men who didn't?

    Race and sex. Harvard University, Harvard sends recruitment letters to Blacks, Native Americans and Hispanics if they score 1100 out of 1600 on their SATs, Asian men need 1380, women need 1350. White men need 1310, women 1280. Now if we had an ERA, Harvard is either getting flooded with applications based on the 1100 standard or they are going to have a student body mostly made up of Asians based on the 1380 standard.

  2. ....Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black once said;
    ................."Never Legislate Morality"

  3. HB, The real scams in education are directly connected to well funded and very liberal institutions. Try getting into Law School if you don’t check a few of the special consideration boxes on the application. If you’re a white guy with decent test scores, it’s not going to get you in. The Asians are bring suit on this very situation because they, collectively, take the worst beating. Equality isn’t working there is it. However, if you’re black, Indian, or any of the laundry list of preferential considerations, with marginal admission indexing, poof....you’re in. I believe this time honored scam technique was utilized by Ms. E Warren when she attended law school as an “American Indian“. Having seen the scam it’s easy to see that the rush to “equality” is clearly not for the liberal elitists that love to preach in Maine.

  4. Hrtlss Bstrd, why do you assume that a woman would take days off for doctor’s appointments for children but a man wouldn’t? Any father worth his salt would share the responsibility of raising children. I know I do.

    When I took my children grocery shopping with me years ago some guy said to me, “got stuck babysitting, did ya?” I proudly told him I never babysit my children, I take care of them and I raise them. More men should share the responsibility of their children.

  5. Pay inequality has been around for a long time. Consider the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 20 verses 1-16.

    To save you time looking it up, that is the parable of the workers in the vineyard who all receive the same wages for the day whether they worked twelve hours or one hour or some number in between.

    What Washington and Augusta can do to help make things more sensible of course is to adjust tax and welfare laws so that poor people can have better lives, That would help solve the economics of inequality.

    Better health care for everyone has always been in our grasp, but some peoples fingers have been too sticky. It's something else we should be able to fix, it may take another generation or two. Lots of countries have more equitable systems than the USA, we can learn from them.

    Regulating the internal personal prejudices and arresting discrimination and nastiness? Not so easy. Walking a mile in our brothers or sisters shoes periodically might be a good way to start.

  6. Maine ratified the constitutional amendment in January 18, 1974. It only takes 1 more state to pass the amendment.
    These are the states that have not voted to ratify: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia
    Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia
    (Arizona or Virgina would be my guess for eventual ratification.)

    "While the fight plays out in the states, some Republicans and Democrats in Congress are backing legislation that would pave the way for ERA ratification whenever the 38th state signs on. Congress would likely have to act because it originally gave states seven years to reach the 38-state threshold after passing the ERA in 1972, and later extended the deadline to 1982, but has not taken action on the issue since then. Critics contend that ratification by a 38th state would be moot since Congress never extended the 1982 deadline.

    Rep.Jackie Speier, D-Calif., introduced a resolution last month that would eliminate the deadline and count the states that have ratified the ERA since the early 1980s toward the magic number of 38.

    The bipartisan bill has 149 co-sponsors, according to Speier’s office.

    Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, introduced a similar resolution in the Senate last month. In a joint op-ed in The Washington Post, Cardin and Murkowski wrote that “we come from different ends of the political spectrum, but we agree that this needs to change.”

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced a different bill in the House that would restart the ratification process for the ERA from scratch, and add the word “women” to the amendment.

    “Rep. Speier and I are working together to cover all our bases. I am dedicated to getting the ERA in the Constitution – I am open to all paths to doing so,” Maloney said in a statement to the NewsHour.

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/one-of-these-states-could-ratify-the-equal-rights-amendment

  7. Al, I dare you call me a moron! and I see you found a way to get the President into this op ed.

  8. So one can argue that HB’s numbers can be tweaked or adjusted for a variety of factors...however, the original premise and also parlayed by the left is factually incorrect. In addition to HB’s statement, “Harvard scientists have called this inherent biological dynamic simply a choice gap.”

    What the crafty leftist leave out of their programming and skillfully placed direction they steer their messaging is the fact historically, that “Women“, also tend to choose careers that pay less, and to work fewer hours in most positions as do ”Men”. ”A recent study of Uber and their so-called wage gap, for example, found that men earned more than women drivers. Gasp!” So, when the study investigators took a closer look, (as most should instead just “flocking together” as a Yale Professor stated, and sticking with the false narratives that fit their premises), “...however, found that the men drove faster and put in more hours. So they made more—because they put in the work to earn more.”

    You can not legislate ”morality” and “feelings”. This is what the leftist government is doing every day. New Google searched and socially acceptable language in laws are not going to make us more equal or alike. An Orange is an Orange and an Apple is an Apple, no matter how many times you tell your self that they are equal and the same....

    Nuff Said....”

  9. The women’s soccer “champs” brought this up not too long ago and after people did some digging found out that they were paid less because they had different bargaining agreements. Not only that the women’s league actually brought in less money from spectators.
    Equality is a lot like racism it only shows up when politicians or Al want to bring it up like election years or for a diversion. Al I believe brings it up just to babble on in his weekly op-ed when he has no other topic to cover but that’s what he does instead of writing about the lefts issues he brings up a diversion.

  10. Marie E, The deadline expired, the amendment votes are nullified. The amendment would need to be brought back up and be voted on again. There are a few yet to be ratified amendments that have no deadline and so hold their votes, making the former slave states, slave states once again is one of them, in 1861 it needed 2 more votes(Maine had already voted in favor), today it needs 20.

    TJ, Yes, I could have just as easily used a single father in my example, but since 99% of the time it is women who bring up the mythological gender wage gap, I chose to use women. But the reality of it is that there are a huge number of things that determine pay, some being education, experience, time with the company, productivity, ambition, leadership and people skills.

  11. "Equality is a lot like racism it only shows up when politicians or Al want to bring it up..."

    How absurd! Sounds like something a privileged white male would say.

  12. Marie, can you define a privileged white Male for me?

  13. Marie... would that be 'old privileged white males' or any white male.. Would you say we need more privileged white females to make things right.. I mean correct? What do you think of those younger women that are getting on the scene in D.C.? They are stirring things up. Can they make us all equal?

  14. Marie E see my screen name !! Does my comment not fit the narrative? I wish the Bulldog was able to attach photos in comments. I have a meme of someone sitting next to the mailbox waiting for their “white privilege” card. The typical liberal response when racist doesn’t fit is white privilege. Nice try though independents and even a lot of Democrats are waking up to the new “lefts” way of dividing we the people. #walkaway

  15. Marie
    When I was “growing up”, it was strong women who showed me the way.
    I have enormous respect for women
    Because of the respect, I say,,
    You just sound like an Angry Bird,
    looking for any bogus reason to throw the gender / race or whatever card...
    (FYI. The whatever card is called,,,(wait for it),, a TRUMP card. Lol).

    I apologize In case you’re not a female (I know that’s confusing to some,,),
    Angry People Screeching at their own flock!!
    Nothing accomplished....

  16. My brother got more privileges than I did because he was better behaved. You are not entitled to respect and privilege by virtue of being born. IT must be earned!

  17. This is a long article, but beautifully explains the "concept" for those who may never have had a thought about it. Adding "male" to the wording also clarifies why being "male" is 'privileged".

    "What Is White Privilege?
    White privilege is—perhaps most notably in this era of uncivil discourse—a concept that has fallen victim to its own connotations. The two-word term packs a double whammy that inspires pushback.
    1) The word white creates discomfort among those who are not used to being defined or described by their race.
    And 2) the word privilege, especially for poor and rural white people, sounds like a word that doesn’t belong to them—like a word that suggests they have never struggled."

    https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2018/what-is-white-privilege-really

  18. Well see Marie your judging a book not even seeing the color. Perhaps you should refrain from liberal talking points while commenting online.

  19. @HrstlssBstrd, @awww, @taxpayer, etc, etc:

    so envious of the women in your lives

  20. Omar, just like a liberal making assumptions of which you haven't a clue.

  21. Omar you should be she’s a smart, energetic, successful mother and wife. The other wives or maybe they don’t have any I won’t speak for. Mine is pretty damn great and she thinks I am too. Have a great day haters.

  22. Awww... why do you continue to let her write these comments for you..Put your big boy pants on and do it yourself....

  23. My wife can bring home the bacon, AND fry it up in a pan. And nope, I never forget that I'm a man, baby...

    Nothing is more attractive than a powerful woman who IS powerful - not one who has been made to have the illusion of power by governmental manipulation and interference. Mine insists on doing it her way on life's terms.

    BTW, since Marie provided info above: white privilege...ok, right. So, people coming from say, Africa - having almost zero whites in their midst and being the elite of their culture...it must be ok to refer to them as having Black Privilege, right? Asking for a friend.

  24. Glen the only time my wife has any idea what is happening on the bulldog is when someone posts to fakebook. I can’t help if snowflakes get irritated and accuse me of being mean or whatever ist word is popular with liberals that day.

  25. All people should be paid according to their production level. Pay should not be based on anything accept skills and experience and if we get the government out the way we could solve it fairly in the private sector.

    Same ole Same ole...The only bi-partisanship I have seen only results in more taxes, fees and regulations for the working class. CUT SPENDING! Especially wasteful spending. This will never happen while Republicans or Democrats are in office.
    The elite only take care of themselves, this includes everyone on the hill. Corruption is rampid throughout. Everyone, including the news media is lying to us. We are told our vote counts. B.S. maybe on the local level but on the national level we get to vote every 2 years. Once our officials are sworn in it's game on. (what's in it for me competition).

    Abolish the 2 parties!

  26. Marie E, Whites needing a higher score to get into Harvard than blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, is that white privilege? Asians needing the highest must be their Asian privilege.

    During the Katrina relief efforts, everybody in the stricken area could get a $350 Home Depot card(FEMA paid), Blacks and Hispanics were eligible for a second one, was that white privilege?

    Oh you must mean the white privilege that if a white person is born into a dirt poor white family and they work themselves up out of the hole to get a good education, a good job, and a comfortable life, they got it due to their white privilege is that the privilege you mean? Because if that's what you mean, then call me a privileged white male, because I was brought up on food stamps and mailbox money as a child and now make a good living as an adult.
    BTW, I know a black man who became President of the United States for 2 terms, is there a privilege for that? Or was that just a fluke in the social order that leftists put everybody into to try to explain why there are poor people and rich people and how if there weren't rich people everybody would be rich(I'm still trying to figure that one out.) and be better off than they are.

    Here is the secret to lower prices in education and healthcare, keep the government out of everything. In 1920 the tuition at Harvard was $250 per year, Harvard tuition in 1964, $1500 per year, a $1250 increase over 44 years is not very bad really, LBJ signed the Higher Education Act in 1965 making the US government the primary provider of financial aid, Harvard tuition in 1966, $1800, Harvard tuition in 1970, $4000 per year, Harvard tuition in 2019 with all fees added in, $68,000.

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