I got an email today, one of those ones that goes out to everybody and their dog, but this one I actually liked and didn't delete right away. It was addressed to women of any particular party and mentioned the documentary "Iron Jawed Angels" (which I haven't seen yet but have now put on my Netflix queue list). I'm going to put up the email, but have to say a caveat first that I am voting for Obama because the McCain/Palin ticket is anti-women. So it isn't just a matter of women getting out to vote, but also considering the freedoms and choices that we have now due to women of another generation as well, in the 1960s and 1970's pushing for the ability to choose for ourselves reproductive health matters. We can't let that slip away.
WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE
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 womenThus 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 voteFor weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with wormsWhen one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on ahunger 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 becausewhy, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's rainingLast 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 reminderAll 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 inconvenientMy 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 usemy 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 orderIt is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanentlyinstitutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the&doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazyThe 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