On September 5, 2016, Phyllis Schlafly died at the age of 92. The next day, Phyllis’s two final works were published: the New York Times bestseller The Conservative Case for Trump and the Phyllis Schlafly weekly column comparing Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico with Reagan’s to Geneva. The fact that Phyllis was writing up until her death comes as no surprise to those who knew her and the special place the written word had in her heart. Over her long career, Phyllis wrote twenty-seven books and thousands of weekly columns running in nearly every major newspaper in America. She wrote and voiced over 8000 three-minute radio commentaries and hundreds of thousands of letters and emails.
Phyllis’s writing wasn’t just prolific. It was powerful too. Quite simply, her writing changed the world. Her self-published book A Choice Not An Echo galvanized the dawning conservative movement behind Goldwater, then Nixon, and best of all Reagan. For the many Americans who knew Phyllis as a dynamic national leader famous for being telegenic, poised and composed, they might not realize how her lifelong commitment to writing was central to her success.
As a founder of the conservative movement and a true pioneer of political organizing, it should give every conservative pause to think that Phyllis knew true conservatism sprang from a love of words on paper. That love is what shaped our United States Constitution and gives it power. She knew that at the heart of America’s greatness is the innermost values held common by the American people. To her these values were codified in our miraculous founding documents.
In a world where everything moves at the speed of 280 characters, conservatives wanting to be truly effective should rediscover the true power of the written word. It’s not a hard thing to do. Start by reading the founding documents. Don’t be afraid to crack open a book every once in a while. Then pick up a pen or power up your computer and just write. It may not come easy at first. It didn’t even come easy for Phyllis Schlafly. However, the power of the written word should never be lost if we are to keep the conservative movement strong.