Editor: Virginia’s support of the Equal Rights Amendment would redeem its historic promise of equality articulated in 1776, when Thomas Jefferson penned five immortal words—“All men are created equal.”
There was a glaring irony underscored by the chasm between Jefferson’s soaring vision of the new order’s promise and the reality of a population comprising indentured servants, urban paupers, African slaves, and later, women. It’s been a persistent irony. The struggle to reconcile Jefferson’s foundational vision with the realities of manifest inequality is a prominent theme of our history. The popular groundswell to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment is yet another episode of the American story.
To date, 37 of the 38 states needed have voted to ratify the ERA. Given the prominent role of Virginia in the founding of the Republic, as well as Its equally prominent role in the tragic violence to preserve slavery, it is entirely fitting and appropriate that the General Assembly should vote to ratify the ERA, thereby redeeming Jefferson’s egalitarian vision and our own past,
Were we to ratify today, it would be almost a century since the amendment was first introduced in 1921. It would be another stage in our nation’s long-standing mandate to form a “more perfect union.” In good conscience, we should not further delay acknowledging the equal status of the 4.3 million Virginia women, of which almost 150,000 living in Loudoun County are our neighbors, friends, wives, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, business owners and entrepreneurs—and voters. Justice is due. We’ve all been waiting too long.
Randy Ihara, South Riding