Why Women Should Vote

I actually got this in an email. However, it is so very true. I have not missed an election since I was 18. I always figured that I couldn’t complain if I didn’t take part in the very process that picks our leaders.  Here is a few things that the history books didn’t teach us —

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 jailed nonetheless 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 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.

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. Here is more information about these coragieous women:
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?

HBO recently put out a movie called 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. 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. It is also 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 women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – remember to vote.

History is being made.

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Comments

  1. Heather in Beautiful says

    Right on Lisa!!! Thanks for the reminder.

    That was only 88 years ago – amazing we've only had the right to vote for those few years – and to think of the atrocities those courageous women suffered for us is nearly incomprehensible.

    I find it difficult to understand why such a high percentage of women don't vote… don't they read or watch the news?

    Have they forgotten Tiananmen Square as recently as 1989, where people died for the right to vote and voice their opinions???? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_pro

    The year of 2008 certainly will go down in the history books as a major historic year and we are living it and need to do our part.

    Stand up for what you believe in, or stand for nothing at all.

  2. says

    I'm not impressed with either candidate this election, either, but I've chosen to vote for the lesser of two evils…if the line isn't too long.

    There is an entire theory about how NOT voting because of lack of qualified candidates can eventually make a significant impact on how the government operates.

  3. says

    Well, as long as you're a legal US citizen, you'll have the rights to vote for your favorite candidate here…

    Remember, without the women, men won't exist at all!

  4. says

    I agree with the first statement wholeheartedly, if you dont vote you loose the right to complain. What these women went through so other could vote is terrible, so i hope you all make your vote count in the election.

  5. vein says

    Of course if you are a legal US "resident alien " you can't. Although at least a dozen people still sent me that email.

  6. says

    If theres one thing thats free in this world it is the right to vote and everybody should. Here in the UK there was the Suffragette movement which eventually led to women being given the right to vote, as you say a lot of women suffered for this cause, in fact Emily Davison died jumping in front of the Kings horse for the cause. Great post!

  7. says

    wow, i didn't know what the women back then went through just to get the right to vote. i've voted in every election since i turned 18. it's so important and, really, like you said, there's no excuse not to.

  8. Priya says

    who so ever you like, its really important for each one of us to vote. Its not only the country but whole world, which gets affected with this economy.

  9. says

    And "people" not just women choose NOT TO VOTE? I believe it's your civic duty to vote! They don't like either candidate? They need to do their research and vote for the "best of two evils" then, but for God's sake don't just NOT vote!

  10. Sadie says

    I got that same email a few weeks ago – it's so important! Thanks for spreading the word. I'll be at the polls on Tuesday!

  11. says

    This is so sad…all to vote. Now, we may or may not, no big deal!We as women need to encourage each other to vote.If you are a Christian, then you need to pray @ your decision and vote for whomever God leads your heart to support.

    A Woman That Votes,

    ~J~

  12. says

    Not voting is just plain silly. Not voting will just drag this country further down. The people picked the candidates in the primaries…. you have to live with your choice. Now it is time to let your voice be heard, as women and as citizens. VOTE! I did!

  13. says

    I also got this in my email a while back and was really struck by how much effort and sacrifice went into getting us the vote! Hopefully we REMEMBER and take huge advantage of it come Tuesday! Great post!

  14. Ferox says

    If the people keep voting for the candidate who is always most qualified, then the pressure will be on the parties to put forward even more qualified people. Vote for those most like you want, and eventually it'll get there.

    That's the point!

  15. says

    What a timely post. My grandmother took part in the protests when she was a child (she's no longer with us) and remembered getting the right to vote. When she told me that as a child and I was taken to vote with my Mom every year, I knew the importance of voting. I have passed that down to my daughters.

    Thank you Lisa for writing this and sharing this information so that we can all re-think how precious our right to vote really is. Everyone needs to take time to vote tomorrow. If anyone has problems voting, all they need to do is make a call to their party's district office and get a ride to the polls.

  16. says

    Either they didn't teach that in History, or I just wasn't paying attention. I think it is important to remember that we weren't always able to vote, and that our ancestors fought hard to give us that right. This was a very emotionally hard post to read, but I'm glad you shared it. I'll be sure to pass it on to every woman on my contact list. Thank you.

  17. says

    I have vote every time I could since I was 18!! You can't complain about the politics of the USA unless you vote!! That is wonderful what you shared about the first women voters! If it wasn't for their bravery we wouldn't be voting today!

    Your FL furiends Mom!!

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