Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Women's Right to Vote

Before the copy of the email starts, I'd like to note that my paternal grandmother was 25 years old when she could vote for the 1st time!

This is a copy of an email I received. This is important.

Subject: Womens right to vote

This is an important time in History for Women!!



This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; 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 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

Lucy Burns

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

Dora Lewis

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 and suffered 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 Nov. 15, 1917,when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because 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.

Alice Paul

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 was tortured 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 new 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.

Thank you to the person that wrote this!

Please, also see my previous post Disturbed (below).


ashley said...

I read both of your posts that you asked me to read and I enjoyed reading them both very much, so thanks.

I am grateful to be a woman in this day and age. I admit that that I take many things for granted, including many of my rights as a woman because I know no different. I have always been able to speak my mind and am happy and grateful to know that I have a marriage where my husband and I are equal partners in every aspect. I know there are lots of women, even today, that don’t have that. I have grateful to know that I can achieve anything that any man can.
When it comes to voting, I know that I take it for granted. This will be the second election that I could vote and I am not sure if I will. Mostly what it comes down to is that I don’t know where I stand on many issues. I have watched a few campaigns and I don’t feel like I know what would be best for our country. I don’t want to vote, to just say that I did. I don’t feel comfortable voting for someone when I am not positive that they are the right candidate. This probably sounds foolish, because with this mentality I realize that others will decide on my behalf.

My parents have always been republicans and will always just vote republican no matter what. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be open minded in all aspects. I might still vote, I am not saying that I am against it. I just am not passionate about it. Obviously.

This has made me realize that I need to be more involved in politics than I am.


Packrat said...

Ashley, thank you for taking time to read these. I was lucky; I had two grandmothers that were passionate about their rights and beliefs. All of my family is Republican, also. I am fairly conservative and lean toward the Republican way, but have "crossed to the other side" on occasion - that is one benefit of living in Idaho - we have the choice.

Packrat said...

Ashley - also just thought of this. If you don't know the issues, don't be afraid to talk to people - especially your parents and husband - about them. Get both sides' opions.

Right now, though, I am rather scared, because I feel we are the brink of becoming a full-blown socialistic country. History has shown that socialism leads to communism or a dictatorship which mean the people become completely oppressed, helpless, and destitute, and the government bcomes very corrupt, all powerful, and very wealthy.

We have corruption and the very wealthy now, but we still have a say by voting, and we still can impeach someone in a public office.