Congress Snubs Meryl Streep

Meryl Devil Wears PradaMeryl Streep—who, let’s face it, is probably busier than you—still found the time this summer to write letters to all 535 members of Congress asking them to support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).The ERA would ban legal gender discrimination in the United States. If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of it, or why it’s not in our Constitution already, those are both good questions! The history here is a lot longer and more complicated than it should be.A version of the ERA has actually been around since 1923, and Congress even passed the amendment in 1972, but not enough states ratified it to make it a permanent part of the Constitution. Since 1982 it’s been reintroduced before every new session of Congress, but it’s never regained the momentum it had in the 70s.Meryl Streep wanted to put the ERA back on Congress’s radar this year, so she wrote a letter to every sitting representative and senator, and sent them all copies of a book about the ERA, Equal Means Equal, as an extra bonus.The result: five members of Congress responded to her letter. Five.As Kit Steinkellner at Hello Giggles put it: “So, when Meryl Streep writes you a letter (And sends you a book, to boot!), you respond, right? I mean, it’s MERYL.” Nope, apparently not!We knew Congress hasn’t been very productive in recent years, but we didn’t know that equal rights for women was this low on their priority list, or that they lacked the basic manners to write thank-you notes for gifts (from the greatest actress of all time, no less!).We’re encouraging everyone to pick up where Meryl left off and write a letter to your senator or representative. Tell them why the ERA is important to you, and that their support here (or lack thereof) does impact your willingness to give them your money and your vote.Bonus points for anyone who calls them out for ignoring Meryl Streep. Because seriously: who does that?