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Friday, September 12, 2008

Why Vote At All??

I received this from a friend and while I have always seen myself as one who takes my right to vote very seriously, I will admit I had NO CLUE about the horrific, tragic and heroic fight it took to give me that right.
I, like many of us, always imagined a group of ladies in long dresses, carrying home-made signs chanting some feministic phrase, politely asking for the right to vote.
How many of you were like me?
With a very important election upon us,
I felt it EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that every woman, every PERSON read this!
For every woman I say VOTE! it's your PRIVILEDGE to uphold
For every man I say VOTE! you owe it to YOUR MOTHERS!
and YESSSSSSSSSS that means you toooo Kyzac!!
There is NO EXCUSE for not voting.....

IF ....
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 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.
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?
We donʼt like the candidate?
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...


KyDust said...

I totally agree that everyone needs to vote! We are so lucky that we're one of the, still few, countries that gets to choose their leader. I want to vote, but registration takes about six months I guess, so I pretty much ruined that for myself this time...

Another great post, Jack!

Jack said...

you really gotta get outta that room more! Voter registration is INSTANT! You fill out the tiny form, sign it, send it in, YOUR DONE! or you can go to the court house and do it all RIGHT THERE!
A voter registration form can be found IN EVERY PHONE BOOK!!
NOW DO IT!!! :)
dude....Walmart is clearing turning your brain to mush :)

KyDust said...

Really?! I heard that once the form was submitted it took around 6 months for it to be processed. I was lied to!!! I gotta get in and do that very soon then! Awesome! Thank you very much!

...And yeah, Walmart tends to do that to a person's brain...

Jack said...

GOOD FOR YOU KY!!! whoohooo get-ur-done :)
it takes 6months for a passport to be processed, and u dont need one of those to vote..well not yet anyways lol*