I’m not a conservative. I’m not a liberal. I am a human being.
At the end of the day, after the slings and arrows of talking points and zingers on cable news TV, we’re all people. We all have Humanity. Left or right, we all suffer when one of our own perishes, like a fireplace that’s out of fire.
Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly died yesterday at the grand old age of 92.
Phyllis was a controversial figure. I sure didn’t agree with her on everything. Always the traditionalist, when Schlafly said spousal rape wasn’t real, I said, “Madam, why don’t we listen to both sides on this issue?”
Back in the ’80s, when Schlafly said AIDS was a plague sent by God to eliminate the homosexual problem, I retorted, “Ah, but by your logic, the Tanakh also requires you to wear a veil and sleep outside during every menstrual cycle. How can you call for the deaths of millions of gays while eating a McRib and engaging in ad hominem?”
Oh yes, we had our disagreements. I remember having the privilege of being on the Sunday morning news shows opposite Phyllis, who dredged up her old argument that the Christian white race was being diluted by immigrants from “mud countries.” I shrewdly parried each and every one of her points then thrust back with “perhaps ALL races are wrong, and the ideal human is a Frankenstein-type creature created of all ethnicities and political positions.” Her involuntary grunt of “guh” was all you needed to hear to know I proved my point by her own logic.
In her time, Phyllis Schlafly was like no other. She believed in the authority of the father in the family nucleus. If her husband was sick, she would drop her crusade against the Equal Rights Amendment to make him chicken soup and make sure he had a copy of his favorite Henry Miller novel handy.
Phyllis was the sort of woman who took motherhood and wifehood seriously. She was a relic from a different age, an age where women didn’t put their husband through the purgatory of family court or demand to know why he was direct messaging respected Maine moderate Susan Collins at 5 AM on Twitter. An age where women were loyal, didn’t have high-priced lawyers, and abided by the principle of “boys will be boys.”
Phyllis understood the value in taking one’s shoes off and looking a man toe-to-toe and saying, “Carl, you deserve so much better than this. You are a beautiful, brilliant man with needs. You deserve a woman who will fulfill those needs.”
Left, right or wherever, we can all admire a person like that.
But the past is prologue. Phyllis Schlafly has passed on to the next life, and everyone — Republican or Democrat or Independent — is obliged to respect and love her.
She leaves behind a beautiful round son named Andrew, who runs a Wikipedia-type website called Conservapedia that’s sadly overrun with trolls who find it amusing to graffiti a veteran journalist’s page with totally false statements about his getting “drunk” on sacramental wine and stuffing several eucharists in his mouth and choking (Oh, is it a crime now to explore other faiths? Nice ad hom).
She leaves behind a gap in all of our hearts. Rest in peace, Phyllis Schlafly, you beautiful perfect angel.
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years and is the host of the Digcast, a weekly podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet to @carl_diggler.