Monday, September 22, 2008

On Women Voting

Everyone has the right to have their voice heard - and everyone should speak their mind. Until 1920, women did not have the right to do this when it came to voting. It is a right we did not always have and it should not be taken lightly. Even with all the excitement regarding the elections this year, I hear women state that they are not going to vote because it just isn't worth it and why should they bother...

Why should they bother?

Because voting is a right that we didn’t always have in the United States…and many women in other countries still have little rights at all. This true story explains what women went through to be able to vote prior to 1920:

The Night of Terror, 1917

"Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against 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.

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.

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." - Author Unknown
Source material

Study the issues, vote for what you believe in, and stand up for your rights. These brave women fought hard for something we take for granted. If you really want to see change, you have to do your part - and honor the struggle that women in our country's past went through just to go to the polls and have their voices heard.

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