Monday, August 31, 2009

well done, sister suffragette

it was 89 years ago on august the 26th that women in these united states of america were granted the right to vote.

and it was last week on august the 26th that we celebrated this most important of milestones.

first came sashes for everyone. (crepe paper was as classy as i could make it. better luck next time.)

then came a sing-along to this classic suffrage anthem.

and then a viewing of "iron jawed angels," a film, and more importantly a story, i love with all my heart.

a few thoughts.

1. the right to vote is one for which we should be grateful every single day. it is a right won just a few short generations ago. there are people living and walking on this earth today who were born before women could vote in the u.s. i can hardly believe that that is true. the fight is still so near, and it makes me want to take the greatest advantage of this privilege possible.

2. justice for one is justice for all. no group, in the majority or the minority, gains anything by denying someone else's rights. and if i believe in rights for my minority, whatever minority that might be, i have to believe in rights for your minority, too. a win for one of us is a win for all of us.

3. sometimes we have to be bold. there is certainly a time for tact and patience, but there is also a time to say what is unpopular and do what is risky. it seems almost ridiculous now that women had to go so far as to put their lives on the line to win the right to vote, but it is true. what boldness do we need now?

4. our daughters' daughters will adore us. suffrage is, to me at least, an enduring and precious legacy. and one that i feel responsible to protect and propagate. i am reminded of hillary clinton's speech at last year's democratic national convention in which she said, "my mother was born before women could vote. my daughter got to vote for her mother for president. this is the story of america."

i love that story.


CL said...

Amen- what a privilege.

Julia said...

Thanks for reminding us of all that we have to be grateful for! I don't think about things like this nearly it was just fun!

Popster said...

Someone once asked Elie Wiesel, the political activist, Holocaust survivor and Noebl Prize winner, why he does what he does. His answer was simple and profound. He said that I do what I do so that my past will not be our childrens' future.

We all owe it to ourselves and to future generations to honor and build upon our legacies. To do otherwise is to disrespect ourselves and to dishonor those who went before us. Indeed, it is important for us, who typically are in the majority, to fight for those in the minority, because we never know when we will be in the minority. My grandmother was born into a country where she did not have the right to vote. It now is a right that many take for granted. Each of us who stand on the shoulders of those who fought for rights before us should broaden our shoulders so that those who come after us can stand on our shoulders. That is the true meaning of rising up.

Popster said...

Sorry for the post script, but I forgot to mention that I was born into a country where I could be drafted to die for my country, but where I was not allowed to vote for those who made those decisions. It makes the power of the franchise all the more important when you do not have it.

Susan said...

i love the suffragettes!

have you read the autobiography of elizabeth cady stanton? what a dynamo! some of the things she wrote are still ahead of *our* time!

p.s. she also had a sweet lawyer father who encouraged her to get into politics.