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Sept. 27, 2008

Calling All Women

A woman at my husband's work brings him old issues of the Smithsonian magazine.  She subscribes and enjoys them and then passes them along to us, knowing how much we love reading them.  They hold the place of honor in our house; the bathroom.  

I know, I know.  Sounds almost sacrilegious to put such an amazing piece of reading material in the john.  However, think about it.  Where is the one place that demands your family? Talk about a captive audience for a bit of culture, history, science and other topics not found too often these days. 


These magazines have my family talking about interesting things at the table now.  The bits and pieces we’ve all learned from them have given us all a bit wider view of the world in which we live.


The current issue we’re reading just happens to be October of 2004.  One month before the presidential election between Bush and Kerry. 


I found that a really interesting “coincidence”


I decided to take it as a sign and explore this old magazine to see what treasures might be hiding inside.


As well as the really informative articles and historic tidbits about elections past,  I was reminded again that in 1920 women got the right to vote with ratification of the 19th Amendment.  It goes on further to say that since 1980, women have voted at a higher rate than men.


Because participation in government is still relatively new for women (lets face it, in our history, men have had governance sewn up for millennia) and because of this, it’s up to women to make sure that the victory for women in 1920 is not forgotten. 


My grandmother, who was born in 1890 taught me early about what a huge responsibility it is to participate in the governing of one’s community and country.  She was an absolute stickler for making sure everyone she knew went to the polls when it was time. She reminded us that we owed the suffragettes our freedom to voice our concerns and opinions. Much in the same way we owe a debt of gratitude to anyone who’s ever been in the service of our country. My grandmother never let us forget that those women who fought so hard were someone’s mother or sister or niece or daughter. She marched in more than a few rallies herself, at times suffering the silence treatment from her own mother for suggesting women had a place in government.


In North America, women have the opportunity … the responsibility to show up and vote. It seems vitally important this year, with possible oval office management from a woman, one who is unwilling to leave women with a choice over their own bodies.  This year we have an historic election, yes, but unfortunately, what was thought to be history making for the GOP has turned, from all signs, into something quite different. 


Palin would get a good swift kick in her backside if my grandmother was here today.  More likely, she would weep tears of frustration and sadness to see this opportunity for women, taken to such levels of mockery and disappointment.


Daily, journalists and bloggers are speaking up about their thoughts on the presence of Palin in this race.  More and more people are wondering what she really is doing where she is.  She isn’t ready…few could deny that at this point.


Then again, Washington was a solder, not a politician.  More than a few presidents were less than swift in their socks and more than a few over the years have bumbled and tripped over their own words and would, in this age of monster media, looked like fools.


With only five weeks until this country chooses one of those men to become the new president, it strikes me that we might need a refresher course in what was really accomplished in 1920.


The way I see it at this point, is that no matter who wins  this election, the women of this nation should collectively hold their heads up high at the very fact that a female candidate exists today.  We should breathe a prayer of thanks to our grandmothers and great grandmothers, to our bra burning aunts and mothers and our selves.  We should stand together, no matter our politics and just for a moment, be very grateful that the way is clear for women.


What comes in the days ahead will be something to watch.  We live in interesting times. Times made more important because we see the results of what those women fought for eighty-eight years ago. 

 That, in my opinion, is the real prize.


©  2008 JLD



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