Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Call Me Crazy, But...

This is the story .......
of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived in our lifetime.
 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.

 (Lucy Burns)
...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.

(Dora Lewis)
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.
 (MrsPauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a 60 day sentence.)
 In 2004 HBO released the movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that they could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have their say. Most women will be ashamed to admit they need the reminder, but you should all watch it.
(Alice Paul)
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. 
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.'

(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown, New York)
HBO has released 'Iron Jawed Angels' on video and DVD, & general consensus, among those who have seen it, is that all history, social studies and government teachers should include the movie in their curriculum. In fact show it ANYWHERE women gather. Obviously this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be... and to be honest... a little shock therapy is in order.

 (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.' )

The actual act of voting has become less personal for many in recent years -- more routine.  Frankly, voting often feels more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it is even considered inconvenient.
Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at  National Woman's Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C.Left to right: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer,  Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel,  Mabel Vernon (standing, right))
So, refresh my memory.... Some women won't vote this year because - Why, exactly? You have carpool duties? You have to get to work? Out too late the night before? There's a marathon of your favorite tv show on? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining? 
 Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote. Otherwise you're insulting & disregarding all that the women before you have done.

*this post inspired by a recent email from a very good family friend


  1. LIKE. And I'm guilty of this behavior :-/ Going to look and see if they've got the movie available on Netflicks right now.

  2. I think we've all been guilty of it at one time or another. I know I've blown off "minor" elections in the past. Never missed a Presidential one though. Plus it seems all the places I go to vote have free food & refreshments for the voters, talk about a bonus! Hey, whatever gets people to the polls, right?

  3. I have to admit - I take my voting right as granted. And it should be granted, we're all equal! But this is a great reminder that it wasn't always like this, so thanks for a kick in the ass :)