WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Equal Heights Amendment's (EhA) passage in July has unleashed a furor of protests, counter protests and legal actions both in the U.S. and around the world. Even those who still support the larger principles behind the EhA, which bans discrimination on account of height, are rethinking the amendment as short-sighted.
The Democrat-sponsored Equal Heights Amendment seemed necessary, according to its author, Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.), to fight the pervasive heightism in our society. But now, even Kucinich says it may have been a big mistake. "As the party of the little people, I thought we understood bigotry, but we had no idea about the many little implications of equality. For example, if I had known it would mean even more Tom Cruise movies, I certainly would not have pushed it forward."
Hollywood legal analysts say the rash of Cruise movies was as predictable as it was inevitable as the studios, fearful of sanctions under the EhA, climbed all over themselves to ink deals with any actor under six-foot tall.
But there was no spillover to Hollywood's real little people. Hervé Villechaize, former Hollywood actor and current leader of a dwarf-tossing industry trade group, said that business had shrunk drastically since the passage of the EhA. "Expect to see dwarves and midgets with tincups begging on street corners if this amendment stays on the books. Even the Lollipop Guild can only live for so long on residuals, you know."
Villechaize also said the the leading-man slots small actors had hoped for never materialized. "Cruise, as usual, sucked all the air out of the room," he sighed.
Also disturbing to the vertically challenged was the spate of suits by people of above-average stature. One Allan-Bakke-like counter-suit alleges dance discrimination against the statuesque. Mary Anne Weizenheim, age 12, of Spivey's Corner, North Carolina, said that bias against "big girls" is rampant in the sixth grade.
"During cotillion, which is a program of dance and social etiquette training, I'm lucky if I ever get a boy to stand near me much less dance with me," said Weizenheim. "My dad's a lawyer, and he knows John Edwards, and I'm suing somebody's little butt. I don't know who, maybe that squirt Harry O'Connor?"
Basketball star Shaquille O'Neal has filed suit already under the EhA against the National Basketball Association and its affiliated official's union to ban the "hack-a-shaq" defense. "I'm telling you, ain't no way they're letting this go on if I'm not the Big Aristotle. In my first year in the NBA, I'd breathe on Spud Webb and he'd get free throws -- even when the Hawks weren't in the bonus."
Even outside the U.S., EhA-related protests have erupted. In southern Cameroon in West Africa, the natives lashed out as they have watched the previously modest local tourism trade shrivel to nothing. "Americans used to come to see the pygmies, but no more. It's illegal in the U.S. to even say 'pygmy' now, much less schedule a tour to see one."
In Afghanistan, protests to have the American-headed coalition's height policies applied to Afghan militias are being led by a six-foot-four-inch-tall, burkha-clad woman named Amaso Nib Nedal. Ms. Nedal is demanding that loyína meermen (big women) be allowed to carry AK-47s just like small Afghani boys.
Defenders of the EhA, while admitting to some "unintended side effects," say that the amendment has led to new heights of accomplishment for short people, citing in particular the hiring of Katie Couric as the lead anchor for the CBS Evening News.
In related news, the National Institutes of Health said that federal funding for achondroplasia was at an all-time high during fiscal year 2005-2006.
Copyright 2006, Douglas Salguod