As a political junkie, I love political fiction shows like West Wing, and Commander in Chief. Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland are great in this show, as always. What really irritates me about these shows, however, is the way they blend fact and fiction to give people a very biased view of politics and political subjects. This episode is a perfect example.
The President finds out that the Speaker of the Illinois House has died and decides she can now push for passage of the ERA in that State. The Story plays out that the President is bravely taking on an important issue of justice against the better judgement of those looking out for her political survival.
Let\'s put aside the fact that the ERA was supposed to have been passed within a certain number of years of its proposal. The fact that it was not passed within that time was the reason people stopped trying for passage. It wasn\'t like all the supporters just gave up. They ran out of time.
What really bothers me is that the issue is portrayed in terms of justice rather than having people talk intelligently about both sides of the issue. Opponents all just need to be \"educated\" a little before they will support it, like the dim-witted Speaker of the Florida House who initially opposes passage because we have \"too many laws\" already. However, she comes around after the President points out that she personally benefitted from a sex quota for a sports scholarship in college that she probably would not have gotten but for Title IX. Wouldn\'t the perfect retort to this be that Title IX and a myriad of other discrimination laws already make sex discrimination illegal in they ways socieity dislikes? Another response might be that maybe that scholarship was an unfair quota that forced other students to pay higher tuition in order for her to benefit from a sex quota and maybe that is wrong?
But no real debate on the topic ever takes place. All opponents are either too stupid to understand the subject or political cowards for not stepping up.
The real reason many people opposed the ERA back in the 70\'s was that they saw what the Courts were doing with other anti-disrimination Amendments and Statutes. If a Court can say that a law which clearly bars all discrimination on the basis of race and sex, can actually mandate discrimination in favor of certain classes, there is no telling how they might twist the ERA. This is not ammunition people wanted to give to activist judges, even though almost everyone supports the idea that women should have equal rights under the law.
It is too bad conservative arguments are never given honest discussion in these shows.