By Elaine Donnelly | September 6, 2016 | 9:14 AM EDT
Before founding my own organization in 1993, I was one of many women who Phyllis Schlafly encouraged to become involved in matters of public policy. It was inspiring to watch in action a woman whose range of knowledge and interests were exceeded only by her determination to win on scores of conservative causes.
When it came to slaying dragons, Phyllis Schlafly was a modern-day cross between St. George and Joan of Arc. There never was a challenge that Phyllis did not take on because it was too hard or the odds were too great.
With prolific writings, countless appearances, good humor, imagination, good example, and sheer courage under fire, Phyllis Schlafly, a true leader, was always smart, principled, tireless, and wise.
Knowing she could not accomplish her goals alone, Phyllis personally inspired more than two generations of women and men to organize, volunteer, and choose their own mission. New activists in most states figured out ways to lead and to prevail, freely sharing with others what they learned along the way.
She was efficient with her time and demonstrated what “multi-tasking” meant before the word was invented. She also took time to recognize volunteers and sometimes elected officials for their efforts – thanking and encouraging them to do more.
Without micro-managing, Phyllis informed and motivated scores of key leaders nationwide, and they took it from there. The effect was dynamic, decentralized, and “viral” before that word acquired a new meaning on the Internet.
Thanks to her loyal Eagles, her influence was felt for decades on local school boards, high school and college student groups, city councils, state legislatures, and the media. Members of Congress and officials in the White House and the highest levels of the Judiciary and Executive Branch knew that whatever they did, Phyllis would hold them accountable.
Throughout her energetic life, she took on many adversaries and vanquished them time after time. The list included: NEA radicals in the schools, politically-correct speech silencers, judicial supremacists, illegal immigration advocates, globalists pushing flawed international treaties and trade deals, anti-American foreign dictators, environmental extremists, anyone who would weaken the U.S. Constitution, ice-in-their veins abortionists, and, of course, doctrinaire feminists who never understood the true power of the positive woman.
Phyllis was one of only a few conservative leaders who stand out as pillars of the movement. She defended the family, our military, entrepreneurs, inventors, crime fighters, parents and students fighting political correctness, principles of the Constitution, and guardians of justice for all. On a daily basis she proved that dedicated Americans can do amazing things.
Knowing Phyllis for many years, I can still hear her saying, as she often did before hanging up on the phone, “Carry on.” Legions of women and men will carry on, but the conservative movement will never be the same.
Elaine Donnelly is President of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent, non-partisan public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues. Mrs. Donnelly founded CMR in 1993, following her term as a member of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces. She is also a former member of the Pentagon’s Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS).