Why women should vote!!
September 12, 2008 7:16pm CST
My friend emailed me this today and with a large, national election looming in the USA, I thought that this was a good thing to post... 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.' [See the attached file] (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. 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 remote. 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 jar ring 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.
13 Sep 08
I am actually moved by this story of yours. You are right back in the old days women were not allowed and it took some time before they could. If you ask me the essence of this story in not for women alone, but foe everyone. Voting for a leader shouldn't be an inconvenience. People nowadays, especially the young who can vote, just seems to want to be passive when it comes to elections. True, the ones who run in elections are partly to blame for this. With all the lobbyist and the dark side of politics and all, its seems to be a waste of time to vote, but then again voting is the only means to avoid the dark side of politic from coming out and haunting all of us. We shouldn't just stay idle and wait for what's going to happen next, we can't just vote for anyone randomly and then at the first mistake he or she makes we complain and judge him or her. The mistake made by leaders are the mistakes made by people who voted for them. That is why a vote is such a powerful tool, too bad not everyone seems to care about this.
14 Sep 08
I agree with you that even politicians at the lowest level are still a problem if they will be corrupt. Voting is the only option that we have to go against this and its really sad that most people don't actually seem to care about this. I wonder why most would prefer to wait for the wrong people to obtain political power before they act on it and even more people just wait and complain when they have it within their reach the ability to prevent anything wrong from happening.