(This was oiginally posted in 2008 in 2008)
I may have mentioned this before:
It drives me nuts when people tell that they aren’t going to vote.
Aroud the world, in “our” lifetime “we” have seen people walk MILES – perhaps for days – to be able to cast their vote. “We” have people risk beating, arson, even death for daring to cast a ballot.
Yet people in this country will not bother to vote.
Okay, so maybe you don’t “like” or “trust” either canidate. I’ll bet, if you researched it, the Green party, or the Libertatian party, or some dingbat party on your ballot. Your state might even allow you to write in somebody (my second time voting ever I wote in Mickey Mouse and they DID count that vote). Get you tail out there and vote, and make sure that the message is sent that you are paying attention and are WATCHING.
African Americans and Women seem to have forgotten that :our” right” to vote cost extra – ib blood and tears – and that “we” owe it to at least those who paid the price to spend the few minutes it takes to use what they paid for. 0 Ninure da Hippie
Women’s Vote … Amazing Story
This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers, as they lived only 90 years ago. Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 womenwrongly convicted of ‘obstructing sidewalk traffic.’
They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead andsuffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the Night of Terror on November 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned therebecause they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She wastortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because–why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels’. It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was–with herself. ‘One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,’ she said. ‘What would those women think of the way I use–or don’t use–my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.’ The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her ‘all over again.’
HBO released the movie on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.
The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.
We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote Democratic, Republican or Independent party –
REMEMBER TO VOTE.
History is being made.
People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.”
— Martha Gellhorn, writer/journalist (1908-1998)
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
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