HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET, IF WE EVER KNEW, 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 led none the less 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 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 cell mate, 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.
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?
In 2008 we still don't think we count and we wonder how society is getting away with committing multiple crimes on women and why so many are missing and murdered and never been found. Society is getting away with committing these crimes because we cannot afford to spend thirty minutes every three or four years to cast our ballot or attend a all candidates meeting.
Politicians says they are doing what is good for us but how can they when we haven't expressed them.
We should not have to have another 3000 missing and presumed murdered women gone before we take the time to cast our ballot. One of those missing women could be our mother, daughter, grandmother or auntie . Nor should we wait until more blood is shed in another country.
(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)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.
(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown , New York )
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.
(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)
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 any where 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.
(Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at National Woman's Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C. . L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))
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.'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 NDP, liberal, conservative, democratic, republican or independent party -- remember to vote.
(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, 'Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.')