We were saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of Eagle Forum founder and conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly. She was also a former American Conservative Union board member and her impact on history, politics, families, and our lives is monumental.
Years ago, as a student at Notre Dame, and the founder of a campus conservative magazine that was not always received warmly by the administration and faculty, Phyllis sat down with me and my colleague Ed Yevoli, who also sits on our ACU Board, and allowed us to interview her for our publication. Needless to say, we got an unforgettable education in what it means to be a conservative activist and freedom fighter for the Constitution. Her courage and conviction inspired us, and her reliably vigorous defenses of the American family and the unborn for 70 years, mean that I am only one of millions of lives she touched and helped guide toward a conservative and moral approach to the business of politics.
I am still humbled and honored that a star of her stature took the time to meet with a couple of ambitious college students, but that was Phyllis. She understood that the stakes are always high. Her sense of urgency was infectious and persuading people to see things our way was our best path to preserving American values.
We mourn the loss of a leader and great friend, but her life, voice, passion, and principles will continue to impact and influence future generations. Phyllis’ life was a celebration of the things that our nation was founded on, and a small part of her legacy provides, in the short-term, a road map to victory by holding fast to our principles and fighting eloquently and elegantly for our shared beliefs.
History will prove her long-term legacy to be one of intellectual and moral rigor combined with the courage and will to understand that there are, in fact, American values that we must stand up and fight for. Even if there are arrows to be taken from those who seek to water down what it means to be an American, we can take them, and we will do our best to make her proud and honor a life well-lived.