Note: This entry is on the Freedom to Vote, and is NOT a political discussion! Yellowdaisychickchat welcomes all comments on voting, but will not approve any comments related to specific political issues, specific candidates, elephants or donkeys! Take that &*$%#@ elsewhere!
Many are debating, “What was the meaning of this election?” The question I ask myself is what does the election, and all elections, mean to me? Well, in a weird way, I love an election. Now, I hate the negative campaigning and incessant ads just as much as the next person. I definitely don’t get nearly as excited, or borderline hysterical, as the pundits/experts/comedians do, but I admit, it does get my adrenalin going. Why, you ask? Because I love to vote and have my opinion counted. My chosen candidate may or may not win, but with every click on the voting screen, I get to say “THIS IS WHAT I THINK ABOUT THAT!”
I am very lucky, too, that my polling location is always very civilized. Pleasant retirees work the poll, and neighbors line up beside each other, respectful of one another and careful not to talk about the election. I go to my booth and make my choices, freely. No one intimidates me as I drive to the voting location. No one threatens my life as I walk up to the fire station. I am a lucky woman; not everyone in this world has that freedom. Not so long ago, not everyone in this country had that freedom.
I tend to forget what amendment it was (the 19th), when it was enacted (1920) and who was president (Woodrow Wilson, who fought it and eventually supported it) that allowed me that freedom. During my busy days with kids, work, laundry, etc., I don’t think about the women before me who sacrificed so much, went to prison, were mistreated at protests, and were force-fed with feeding tubes during prison hunger strikes. I forget that there were strong, good men beside these women who supported them and their cause. Sadly, I often take my rights for granted, because it’s hard to imagine a life without these rights. I know of women my age (born in the 70’s) who don’t care about voting. I know of women my age who “vote the way my husband does.” Ladies (and men too, for that matter), we should never take our rights for granted. It’s a slap in the face of the women and others who blazed the trail for us. And to paraphrase the Churchill quote, if we forget our non-voting past, we are doomed to repeat it.
So tonight, remember to raise a glass to the ladies who came before us: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and many others. We must remember not to forget.
More than just a face on a coin- http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/her-story/biography.php
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir by Neil White
This incredible true story of loss, love and redemption was written by Mississippi native Neil White. This book was recommended to me by the staff at Turnrow Books in Greenville, MS (see previous blog entry) and it did not disappoint. Successful magazine publisher White is sentenced to 1 year of white-collar prison in Carville, Louisiana (yes, there is a James Carville connection,) which he initally faces, in arrogance, as a short-lived bump in the road. Soon after experiencing a humiliating prison check-in, he discovers the prison also houses the country’s last leper colony. He decides to record the inmates’ and patients’ stories during his time there, and this book is the result. The individual stories (especially the extraordinary Ella), the dynamics between the two groups, and the life lessons he learns are well worth this read.