Sunday, September 07, 2008

WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE

I'm not sure who initiated this email reminder, but I am grateful she did. I received it from a Gold Star Mom friend and from a local activist. We, women enjoy our right to vote and so many take for granted this important right that so many women fought so hard for. Please take a minute and pass this along to all your women friends.

VOTE!....we may only have 2 choices....but we do have a choice!!

WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE

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.'
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.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a he art 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.

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.
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/nwp/prisoners.pdf

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.

Read more:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/nwp/tactics.html
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/nwp/brftime3.html

3 comments:

Virginia Harris said...

Read this for your daughters!

Senator Clinton and Governor Palin are proof that women can and do diverge on important issues.

Even on the question of whether women should vote!

Most people are totally in the dark about HOW the suffragettes won votes for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did.

Suffragettes were opposed by many women who were what was known as 'anti.'

The most influential 'anti' lived in the White House. First Lady Edith Wilson was a wealthy Washington widow who married President Wilson in 1915.

Her role in Wilson's decision to jail and torture Alice Paul and hundreds of other suffragettes will never be fully known, but she was outraged that these women picketed her husband's White House.

I'd like to share a women's history learning opportunity...

"The Privilege of Voting" is a new free e-mail series that follows eight great women from 1912 - 1920 to reveal ALL that happened to set the stage for women to win the vote.

It's a real-life soap opera! And it's ALL true!

Powerful suffragettes Alice Paul and Emmeline Pankhurst are featured, along with TWO gorgeous presidential mistresses, First Lady Edith Wilson, Edith Wharton, Isadora Duncan and Alice Roosevelt.

There are tons of heartache on the rocky road to the ballot box, but in the end, women WIN!

Thanks to the suffragettes, women have voices and choices!

Exciting, sequential episodes are great to read on coffeebreaks, or anytime.

Subscribe free at

www.CoffeebreakReaders.com/subscribe.html

Chancelucky said...

I thought I was the only person who ever saw Iron Jawed Angels. I thought it was one of Hillary Swank's better movies and really brought across how "radical" the suffragettes were in their time.

Captain Anne Bonny said...

I always vote. I get so angry with my Mom because she has my Dad write down for her who she should vote for. I always tells her are you aware your Mother wasn't allowed to vote when she was born? That is another problem is that a lot of women especially in my Mom's generation are so blind to history and the truth.