Eagle Forum of Oklahoma honored Phyllis Schlafly, an Illinois grandmother, mother and political activist who has been one of the most influential conservatives of the past 60 years, advanced favored policy goals and ideas at a dinner in the Gaylord Center at Oklahoma Christian University last weekend.
Schlafly delivered a passionate speech encouraging women and men in the crowd to get involved (or remain involved) in local, state and national politics. She assailed the policy record of President Barack Obama, asking the audience to assure the president does not earn a second term in the 2012 presidential election. She described as misguided efforts to pursue federal education grants that will tie the hands of state officials.
Eagle awards were presented to two members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, both Republicans, by Schlafly and state Eagle Forum chairman Bunny Chambers.
State Rep. Sue Tibbs of Tulsa was honored for defending American and Oklahoma law through legislation intended to prevent resort to foreign law in state courts. State Rep. George Faught of Muskogee was recognized for working to ban embryonic stem cell research in Oklahoma.
Other legislators attending the event included state Reps. Paul Wesselhoft and Sally Kern, both Oklahoma City Republicans. Kern is also an Eagle Forum board member, along with fellow event participants attendees Chambers, Susie Dake and Sandra Leaver.
Beverly Young and Joan Naylor, veterans with Chambers and Schlafly of the fight to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s, were also recognized for their work. Other guests included Tony Lauinger of Oklahomans for Life, Stuart Jolly of Americans for Prosperity, Paul Sublett of the Bott Radio Network, and Tom and Kay Hill, co-founders of Character First.
A pair of Eagle Collegian scholarship award winners spoke to attendees, expressing appreciate for the opportunities they had garnered through trips to St. Louis, Missouri and Washington, D.C.
Emmalee Mattern, now a resident of Kansas, recalled fondly her time as an Oklahoma Eagle Forum member. Emoly West, a former Miss Oklahoma who finished as fourth runner-up in the 2010 Miss America contest, spoke for several minutes about her first experience questioning a member of Congress during a trip to the nation’s capitol.
In her keynote address, Mrs. Schlafly focused on some of the same themes covered in an exclusive interview with CapitolBeatOK, opposing federal involvement in public school education policy and funding, strongly opposing the drive for a Constitutional Convention, and standing against the Obama administration’s spending and taxation priorities.
Schlafly is the author of many books, including “A Choice Not An Echo,” which is often credited as playing a crucial role in the nomination of Arizona Barry Goldwater as the Republican presidential nominee in 1964. She supported and advised President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
Schlafly laid the basis for conservative women in national politics such as Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, and established a counter-point to the feminist objectives of Gloria Steinhem, another recent visitor to Oklahoma City.
Editor’s Note: Independent photographer Don Spencer took the photographs accompanying this story.