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Old 10-06-2004, 07:31 PM
Farm Gal's Avatar
Farm Gal Farm Gal is offline
 
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(Note: I am posting this unedited as forwarded to me... I am marginally aware of most of these events but have NOT personally veracity checked all fact in this forward... I did spot check some of the dates and names, and beleive the whole to be true as writ)
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A short history lesson on the privilege of voting...

The women were innocent and defenseless. 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 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 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 t he 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. 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 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 wa! tch 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."

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.
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Old 10-06-2004, 08:39 PM
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Tina Tina is offline
 
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Whoa...Lee Ann, all I can say is WOW.

I am sooo humbled

I take many things for granted

TB
  #3  
Old 10-07-2004, 09:01 AM
Restrain Restrain is offline
 
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People have fought and died for the right to vote. It started in 1776. Since then, women and blacks have carried the fight to other groups. I applaude the enfranchisement of all people to vote.

However, if a person doesn't know who their representative and senator is, if they don't know who the Vice-President is, if they can't articulate the TRUE aims of the candidates for office...do us all a favor and don't vote. You're like the guy who isn't a scientist but stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. You just FEEL like you know something, but don't. An uninformed or ignorant electorate is much more dangerous to democracy than the mechaniations of the various party bosses.
  #4  
Old 10-07-2004, 10:21 AM
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Scott Kibler Scott Kibler is offline
 
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Quote:
An uninformed or ignorant electorate is much more dangerous to democracy than the mechaniations of the various party bosses.
I cannot agree enough with this statement.

If it were a workable solution, I would like to see a system where all potential voters were required to prove their competancy as voters by demonstating their knowledge of the issues and candidates. Maybe require a somewhat more thoughtful analysis beyond repeating what is said on network TV news or talk radio.

On a related and somewhat more inflamatory topic: What is the point of bringing elections to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq at this point in time? Considering the history of each place, do we really think these people are ready for this privilage? Are we really prepared to back popularly elected officals who do not back American efforts? Seems to me this could seriously backfire on us. I say we just install colonial viceroys and let these people choose who gets to represent their interests before their American governors.

EDIT: I just realized I posted a Lounge-ish statement in a Watercooler thread. Sorry.
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