Monday, February 1, 2016

Why Bother To Vote?

The voting booth is the one place on earth where the least
powerful and the most powerful are equal.~ Gloria Steinem

I slept through the provocative 60’s and allowed my husband to decide for whom we would vote. I’m not proud of that, but I was busy having babies and trying to emulate June Cleaver. I was way too tired to focus on anything more serious than Pablum. At that time, politics was made up of men who claimed to know what was best for the country and I believed them. As for the radical groups like the Beat Generation, I figured they were a bunch of tired housewives and mothers much like me.

Years later, I woke up from my civic narcolepsy and beat it to the polls on my own with no feedback from a husband. I had vetted each candidate in both parties by using critical thinking, something that has recently lost significant ground with voters, thanks to TV and social media brainwashing us with rhetoric.

In the past, the idea of a woman running for POTUS was ridiculous. An African American President was really unheard of. Back in the day when friends disagreed politically, they remained friends. Today, however, that kind of opposition can and often does, ruin friendships.

What is wrong with this picture?

Although I lived in a fog of indifference during the radical 60’s and into the 70’s, I managed to hear the messages sent by the anti-establishment movement. Writers like Kerourac and Ginsberg opened up a political Pandora’s Box in which cans of bureaucratic worms wriggled out. Their arrested childhood may not have been popular in conservative circles, but this group of merry men let loose a dynamic that entitled Americans to think and act outside of the box.

Not until the year 1919 were women given the right to vote, and it was fifty-three years later that our demand for equal rights was heard. Courageous women paid dearly for our right to vote and if we don’t go to the polls we will be spitting on their legacy.

Women especially need to realize what is at stake for all women in this election. Much has been said about one of the parties trying to take us back to the 15th Century. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but there are other issues in the works that women need to know about and fight. Reproductive rights and justice. Economic justice. Ending violence against women. Racial justice. Constitutional Equality. Religious equality. We need to support the candidates who respect women’s rights and are willing to fight for us. Misogynist power doesn’t do us any good.

Before any woman voter allows a man to make decisions for her, before she decides not to get out to the polls and vote, before she thinks that nothing she does will make a difference, she should Google the following names: Susan B. Anthony. Lucy Burns. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Rosa Parks. Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, Betty Friedan. Judy Brady. Helen Gurly Brown.

I don’t need my government or its banking minions to control my thoughts, my body, my speech or my pocketbook. Although I no longer participate in protest marches, I insist on my right to do so if I choose. I am not willing to give away that right and as a woman, I will never give up my right to vote. The 19th Amendment says I don’t have to.

If we are to make our dissenting heroines proud, we cannot sleep through the 2016 election or ignore the partisan games being played out by politicians. It is up to us to preserve the vision of those courageous women who dared to defy the status quo almost a hundred years ago.

So why bother to vote? Because we have a responsibility to honor the courage of those women who made our vote possible.

No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party who ignores her sex. ~Susan B. Anthony

No comments:

Post a Comment