Friday, September 05, 2008

Why women should vote.

I got this in an email from a fellow LP Texas candidate. I felt it should be passed around. Women need to know what happened during the time women were fighting for their right in the ballot box.

Not sure who the original author was but this is too important not to pass around, even if I can't give credit to who wrote it, originally.



This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers as
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 picketting 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 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.

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 the 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

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 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


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 institutional-

ized. 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.

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

Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party -
remember to vote.

History is being made.


Mike Taylor

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