Sunday, September 7, 2008

We interrupt (nothing) for this special bulletin

Yay! I can rest (for a minute)

So I guess I am all about the cause right now. I got this email forwarded from my aunt. I always find it difficult to make up my mind when voting for our president. Sometimes it seems futile given the choice in candidates. My candidate isn't on the ticket and I have to decide if I should write him in so my voice is heard and counted and practically throw away my vote in the process. The other choice is not so easy... vote republican as I often have, hoping the woman on the ticket whose record thus far is pretty nice, will do something to help fix this country's problems, or fall for the flowery promising words of the democrat whose liberal p.o.v. sometimes mirrors my own. It's better that I vote than to give up and not be heard.

The email:
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
wieling 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.

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.]

5 comments:

me said...

beautiful post. great reminder. i have friends that let their husbands decide who they vote for because they do not have the time for the research and i feel that is as bad as not voting.

p.s. i found you from flickr and liked that you have a "clean" blog that was interesting and fun to read.

bigE said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome post. It's tragic how many things we take for granted and end up ignoring as belonging to "someone else". Though there are innumerable flaws in our great country's electoral process, to shirk One's simple and essential civic DUTY of voting is just plain ignorant.

I am glad my wife doesn't blindly follow my vote. We are two sometimes like-minded individuals, but we are just that - individuals. Women, read, listen, research, and VOTE for YOUR candidate, whoever that may be!

Liz said...

Indeed my candidate is not on the ballot either. I was hoping against hope that he was at least be VP but Palin took that slot. I am happy that she is as I think that she CAN make a difference in this country. In fact, I think she already has started. Anyway, thank you for the posting. It is imperative that we all do our part in this election.

Hope you are well, dear Moki.

dawn said...

Moki, thanks so much for this post. It reminds us all that who you vote for isn't nearly as important as simply voting. As a Canadian living in the US I cannot vote in the upcoming election, but I can still participate in the discussions, the process and the excitement of it all. And I can encourage others to get out there and vote!

Viki said...

Someone sent me a copy of your post.
I passed it to my 20 yr old daughter and read it to my 14 yr old daughter.
I will be voting.
IT will be Republican.
They aren't perfect.
But socialistic agenda of the other option isn't the way I want the country to go.
My mother is so worried.
I told her not to worry as worrying is like praying for the worst to happen, do something positive instead.