Thursday, October 16, 2008

Women and the right to vote

I got this photo, and the information below, from an email sent by a friend. It was a forwarded email, sent around to various folks in the area.

I have to admit - I did not know that these women suffered so much to get the right to vote for all women.

And, I have to admit - I fail to understand why people DON'T VOTE. It is an easy, simple, almost painless thing to do (unless you really don't like any of your choices) and it is one way of peacefully changing things. I can understand not knowing about every candidate or every issue - like the Judges and such - but every adult should know enough to be able to vote for SOMEONE on the ballot. And really, it is so easy to do. Today is the first day of early voting in North Carolina..... so go to one of the 14 locations and VOTE. If you are not registered, you can register on the spot. If you have moved and did not re-register, you can register on the spot. Just bring some identification and some proof of your address - like an electric bill. Early voting ends on November 1, 2008.

Here is the story of the women who worked, and suffered, to get the right to vote to women:

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 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.

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