Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Right to Vote

 "Forty-three Catholic groups, including the University of Notre Dame and Archdioceses of New York and Washington, have sued the Obama administration over a controversial mandate requiring employers to offer insurance plans that include contraception coverage.  In a coordinated filing of 12 lawsuits in federal courts across the country, the groups argue that the mandate would unconstitutionally force religiously-affiliated institutions, like Catholic schools and hospitals, to indirectly subsidize contraception for female employees in violation of religious beliefs."  **

ABC News website
 The picture above, and the recent quote from ABC, may not seem related, but they are.  The former is an imprisoned Suffragette, whose crime, in our democracy,  was demonstrating for the right to vote, some 50 years after male slaves had been given the right to vote.  The institutions attacking Obama reflect the same patriarchal injustice - both then and now, women were not considered capable of controlling their lives, participation in society, or bodies.

 I ran across this while surfing the Web, and was unable to find the author of the article, or the author of the blog for that matter.  But their generosity and truth should be shared, so I take the liberty of copying this article about the brave women who made it possible for half the population of this country to vote in 1920.  That's not so long ago.  The "Night of Terror" occurred  Nov. 15, 1917, and was a despicable miscarriage of justice.


A True Story Everyone Should Know About

HBO released the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" in 2004.  This is the story of our mothers and grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.

The women were  jailed for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote. By the end of the "night of terror"  many were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs with their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women convicted of "obstructing sidewalk traffic."

Lucy Burns

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.
Dora Lewis

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, suffered a heart attack and was refused medical assistance. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.  Thus unfolded the "Night of Terror" on November 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to "teach a lesson to the suffragettes" imprisoned there because they had picketed Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks during imprisonment, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food was infested with worms.
Alice Paul
When 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 to the press.

Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a 60-day sentence.

"Iron Jawed Angels" is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say as a citizen of this country. I am ashamed that I needed the reminder.

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 Bingo 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.

Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at National Women's Party headquarters, Jackson Place, Washington, D.C.   Left to right: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon

It was 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 watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul, he said,  was "strong and brave. That didn't make her crazy."  He admonished the men by adding that  "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."

Please,  share this with the women you know. We need to vote,  and remember the right these  courageous women fought for.  We need to remember them.

Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk, Conn. Serving a sentence in D.C. prison for carrying a  banner that said:  "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed."

 Read again what these women went through for you!  And  do not forget why this country was founded, and what the Revolution represented.  The right to vote, and to end slavery,  was hard fought for.........even if it took many more years to include half the human population in the picture.  So, please do not take it for granted. Get out and vote!

(This post was copied from a forwarded email, author unknown.)

**MO Rep. Stacey Newman Proposes Bill to Restrict Vasectomies

Well, well, well. The birth-control debate has finally come to our swimsuit areas, gentlemen. Yesterday Missouri State Representative Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis County) filed HB1853, which would only allow a man to have a vasectomy when doing so would protect him from serious injury or prevent his death.  Ah, the legislation's on the other set of genitalia now.  Rep. Newman -- whom I'd like to nominate for Hero Squad right here and now -- has been frustrated with the recent political debates over birth control access and reproductive health. The legislation is her pointed way of combating the idea that family planning is something only women have to worry about.

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