Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Right for Women to Vote

An article I found while browsing the internet. Very inspirational and touching. And I agree with the overall message. I am definately going to vote and not just on presidental things, but the "small" stuff too. Because that matters just as much!

"This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers,
as 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 Burn, 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?

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.

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

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 - remember to vote.