Friday, October 10, 2008

Why Women Must Vote

See the pictures that Dianne has to go with her story at http://www.hihidi.blogspot.com/ that graphically displays what women went through to earn the right for us to vote.

See this site for more information about our need to vote in this election.

http://www.fwhc.org/why-women-vote.htm

This is why we vote: Because we can!

The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and with 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 November 15, 1917 (a mere 87 years ago), 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.

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 will run the movie periodically before releasing it on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum.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. The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."Please 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.

-Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave.,Cleveland, OH 44114, Cschultz@plaind.com, August 2004

7 comments:

bobbie said...

Dianne's blog is the best, isn't it? She's quite a gal. This is a very strong post, and I hope everyone reads it. I'm so glad you linked to it.

Margie's Musings said...

What a great post!

In 1956, I was unable to vote because my 21st birthday was still a month away. But four years later, I did vote and I have voted in every election since.

Dewdrop said...

I voted!!!

Rain said...

I always vote and my children registered as soon as they were able. I did some research on this awhile back and was amazed to realize how recently women were not accorded the right to vote. It took a lot and states like Wyoming that said we aren't coming into the Union unless we can bring our women. They knew the strength of a woman from the hard life in Wyoming and they had granted women the right in local elections. Even in Europe and around the world, it has not always been something women have had. It's hard to comprehend it growing up when I did.

Virginia Harris said...

Can you even imagine being a woman and not being able to vote?

Thanks to the suffragettes, America has women voters and women candidates, and we are a better country for it!

Women have voices and choices! Just like men.

But few people know ALL of the suffering that our suffragettes had to go through to get the vote for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did.

Now you can subscribe FREE to an exciting e-mail series that goes behind the scenes in the lives of eight of the world's most famous women to reveal the shocking and sometimes heartbreaking truth of HOW women won the vote.

Thrilling, dramatic, sequential short story e-mail episodes have readers from all over the world raving about the original historical series, "The Privilege of Voting."

Discover how two beautiful and powerful suffragettes, two presidential mistresses, First Lady Edith Wilson, First Daughter Alice Roosevelt, author Edith Wharton and dancer Isadora Duncan set the stage for women to FINALLY win the vote.

Read this FREE e-mail series on your coffeebreaks and fall in love with these amazing women!

Subscribe free at

www.CoffeebreakReaders.com/subscribe.html

Sylvia K said...

Virginia Harris emailed me this regarding this post.
Can you even imagine being a woman and not being able to vote?

Thanks to the suffragettes, America has women voters and women candidates, and we are a better country for it!

Women have voices and choices! Just like men.

But few people know ALL of the suffering that our suffragettes had to go through to get the vote for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did.

Now you can subscribe FREE to an exciting e-mail series that goes behind the scenes in the lives of eight of the world's most famous women to reveal the shocking and sometimes heartbreaking truth of HOW women won the vote.

Thrilling, dramatic, sequential short story e-mail episodes have readers from all over the world raving about the original historical series, "The Privilege of Voting."

Discover how two beautiful and powerful suffragettes, two presidential mistresses, First Lady Edith Wilson, First Daughter Alice Roosevelt, author Edith Wharton and dancer Isadora Duncan set the stage for women to FINALLY win the vote.

Read this FREE e-mail series on your coffeebreaks and fall in love with these amazing women!

Subscribe free at

www.CoffeebreakReaders.com/subscribe.html

Dianne said...

thank you for spreading the story!!

there are so many wonderful women here on the internet tubes :)

makes it easier to remain hopeful