Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Insane Courage

This year, women in the United States celebrate 90 years of voting in national elections.
This means that approximately 2.5 million current citizens were born at a time when women were not allowed to vote. 
One of the foremost leaders in the suffrage fight was Alice Paul, who died in 1977. 
The vast majority of those currently eligible to vote were alive during her lifetime.

Passage of the 19th amendment was not an easy feat to achieve.  It took hundreds of brave women almost 100 years of fighting, writing, speaking, marching, and protesting to accomplish the goal that would benefit future generations.
They were beaten, had things thrown at them, and insulted repeatedly.
More than 200 women were unconstitutionally imprisoned.  Many of those sent to Occoquan workhouse in Virginia were violently mistreated and abused.  They participated in hunger strikes, and Paul was sent to a mental ward and force fed raw eggs through a tube violently shoved down her throat until she vomited.
Theirs was the ultimate underdog story, and it was not until the protests created significant pressure and negative publicity during wartime that the president began to support the cause.
Ninety years out, we have not yet held the right as long as it took to win it. 
Yet, today, fewer than half of the eligible women in this country are registered to vote.
Of those registered, less than half actually vote.

So, for any who cheer when the underdog gains a victory (you know who you are if you ever shouted along with William Wallace at the end of Braveheart), spend a few minutes honoring what many spent a lifetime fighting for- even if it’s just to say Hell Yeah to a group of gals who had the guts to buck the establishment and stand up to the men who spent generations holding them down.

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