Why Bodacious Women Would Be Insane Not To Vote

 By: Mary Foley
Every November all Bodacious Women in the United States get to vote - for our next President, members of Congress, and other elected positions. Personally, I'm less interested in WHOM you vote for, as much as that you vote AT ALL. This is especially true after reading the following by Jane Saks, Director of Advancement at the College of Architecture and the Arts in Chicago. I honestly had no idea how much our foremothers went through so that women in the U.S. had the right to vote.

At one point Woodrow Wilson and his cronies tried to persuade a psychiatrist to declare activist Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. The doctor refused. He said Alice Paul was strong and brave. That didn't make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."

I say the only thing that would qualify us as insane is if we DIDN'T VOTE!

Now, from Jane Saks:

"The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and with their warden's blessing, went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of obstructing sidewalk traffic. They beat Lucy Burn, 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.

My friend Wendy saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use--or don't use--my right to vote? The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her all over again.'

Copyright (c) 2006 Mary Foley
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