Phyllis Schlafly: Farewell to a Beautiful Conservative Icon

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Phyllis Schlafly, one of the greatest conservative heroes in American history, passed away on Monday at the age of 92.

Although Schlafly never became a household name like her counterparts in the feminist movement, her tireless work changed the Republican Party and the culture of the country in ways that can hardly be calculated. The spotlight that shined on Schlafly was never as bright as the one that illuminated Buckley, Goldwater, Limbaugh, or Reagan, but without her efforts, the 20th century would have been a different era.

Schlafly was best known for her extraordinary grassroots victory against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Confronted with what appeared to be impossible odds, Schlafly mobilized Christian women from coast to coast and succeeded in delaying, and finally killing, the constitutional amendment before it could be ratified by the states. This, of course, made her a living devil to leading feminists, who accused her of trying to deprive women of their liberty.

Schlafly, though, was not the “Aunt Tom” the left wanted everyone to believe. She was, herself, a liberated woman in nearly every respect, carving out a career that would make any feminist jealous, even if they despised everything she stood for. Her version of feminism didn’t include the victim mentality claimed by her liberal foes. She didn’t believe in an oppressive patriarchy. She didn’t buy into the notion that legalized abortion, no-fault divorce laws, and sexual promiscuity were the keys to feminine freedom. She believed that freedom was already inside every American woman who wished to see it.

“American women are the most fortunate class of people who ever lived on the face of the Earth.” she said in 2012. “We can do anything we want to do.”

Schlafly’s legacy will likely be tied to the uprising of feminism in the latter decades of the 20th century, but she was far more important to conservatism than that limited focus admits. Not only did she have a role to play in the transformation of the Republican Party – a metamorphosis that started with Goldwater and culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan – she spent her life warning GOP voters of a threat that is more relevant today than ever before. More than 50 years before Donald Trump announced that he was running for the Republican nomination, Schlafly sounded the alarm on that institution, telling readers that the nomination process was being rigged by “secret kingmakers” in the party’s establishment.

Last year, Schlafly told her loyal audience that Trump might be the country’s last chance to finally defeat those kingmakers, and no one was happier than she to see it happen.

Every modern American conservative owes a debt of gratitude to Phyllis Schlafly that can never be repaid.

But a vote for Trump would go a long way.