Happy New Year and Happy New Congress. All of the bills we knew and loved in the 112th have been erased like a picture on an etch-a-sketch. Now we watch new bills, old bills, very old bills get reintroduced or disappear. Every time a new congress sits I feel a bit of nostalgia for Senator Ted Kennedy’s introducing the ERA on every March 22 of a new congress, the anniversary of congress finally sending it out to the states. Oh that we be so lucky as to have all ERA bills introduced early into the 113th. The introduction of all 4 ERA bills happened late in the timing of the 112th. I have my suspicions about that being on purpose.
The Order of Things. I feel strongly about the order of things and I am not alone in that. President Obama, and as State Senator Obama, clearly believes in the order of things. All of government operates on the order of things. Personally I am not any good at bureaucracy as I am too impatient and an activist. That does not mean I don’t understand the practice and value of Robert, Rules and Order.
Many thousands of us are all too aware of the June 30, 1982 deadline in the ERA, signed March 22, 1972. By that I mean not only the deadline itself but the anomaly of any deadline attached to an amendment bill. It was crap. It is crap and should be removed. Which leaves us with the problem of the order of things. How can it be removed? It has to be removed by the process that created it by those who voted for it – the U.S. Congress.
My facebook page is flooded with requests to sign a “We the People” petition asking the Executive Branch of government to support removing the deadline to the ERA. I fully respect all of the people who wrote it, promote it, sign it and want this done. My response today is not a disagreement and I hope that readers will see that my purpose here is to identify the order of things and name valid actions to get it done.
The order of things for removal of the deadline
- Congress members submit the ERA Bills to remove the ERA deadline
- Congress moves the bill to committee
- Congressional committee holds hearings and vote to send the bill to the floor
- Congress votes on the bill
- Non-ratified states can vote legally
The 112th never held hearings or moved the bill out of committee. The Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendments was Republican. The bills languished and died in December 2012. Of course all of us want to see the bills introduced immediately, the congressional process removing this boondoggle of a deadline and three states be freed to ratify.
A petition process is our right and many times effective. So let’s look at who to petition and what petition to use. Why not petition pro-ERA Senators and Representatives to introduce the Remove Deadline bills now. We know who they are. They are the ones who supported the ERA in the 112th. Petitioning the President is indirect. Lets recognize that this President has demonstrated again and again that he believes in process. President Obama is a Constitutional expert and be it DADT, DOMA, ERA – he follows process. So why not petition Baldwin, Cardin, Maloney, Menendez? Every Dem in Congress?
The White House designed the “We the People” petition process to create grassroots conversation. No number of signatures guarantees that the President will respond. NPR has investigated this and reported that this particular petition does not go anywhere. So we can be glad that we are posting on facebook, seeing increasing numbers of people learning about the ERA but let’s not be lulled into thinking that this petition is going to do anything beyond that. I wish the whole “We the People” petition process would be taken down. It is misleading and inauthentic, dare I say, manipulative.
My personal position on the ERA bills is simple: I support them all. I do not want to speak against any. My short-hand is “All Hands on Deck.” I am 100% behind whatever gets full constitutional equality for every citizen. The 3-State Strategy has a lot less risk than the Start-Over as no one wants to see any of the 35 ratified states move to rescind. To me it is a question of traction. Support them all at the gate and when one bolts out in the front – cheer like crazy (translate – work your ass off).
I have been told that no one agrees with me. Oh, I have been on that spot before. And, actually it is not true. I want to see the love for the ERA, the respect for the ERA, the entire ERA movement succeed. I want the groundswell to be using strong effective tools, education based in reality (not on bathrooms or foxhole BS from the ‘80’s) and laser focus on the ORDER OF THINGS.