Virtus, Adam Levine and Janet Jackson … one is a political icon dressed as an “Amazon” to show power, two are musical idols dressed to titillate a crowd. Two are women, one is a man. Two bared one breast, one bared it all. One got oohs and aahs. One got shamed. One has been covered up as immodest by a politician concerned about his image as reflected in lapel pins worn by his staff.

And now, if reports are to be believed, a real-life person portraying Virtus as she appears on the Great Seal of the Commonwealth (with her left breast exposed) was arrested for violating Virginia’s indecent exposure law. This law requires that the person charged be “intentionally” making an “obscene display or exposure.” 

What exactly was the “obscene display or exposure”?

Showing a breast as part of a costume worn in a satirical act of protest?

Standing fiercely triumphant with a foot on the neck of a tyrant?

Mocking a legislature that allows a vocal minority and a leadership cabal to keep it from taking positive action on the Equal Rights Amendment which their constituents overwhelmingly support?

Nope. What’s “obscene” is the legislature’s fear of attracting criticism from the fringe elements of the electorate who are vehemently opposed to recognizing women’s legal equality in the Constitution precisely because they know doing so will finally free women who were once considered the property of their families and husbands, and, not all that long ago, denied the opportunity to vote or to attend certain state colleges and universities, or even to get credit in their own names.

So, let’s hold Virtus and her example high in front of us as we confront the real obscenity at the Capitol, and seek to do the people’s will. Let’s continue to demand that the leadership step aside and let the House vote on ratifying the ERA or face the fate of tyrants at the hands of Virtus.

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