What a Difference a Hundred Years Make: Why Not Voting would Dishonor the Sacrifices of Many
There is a humbling essay, which details the inspiring stories of the women's suffrage movement. And as election time is now upon us, it seemed appropriate to reflect, even pause with gratitude, for the fight fought by the women some 100 years ago to provide us the opportunity to vote. How trivial it seems to make it to the polls now. Maybe some of us won't even get there because of errands or carpool duty, a horrible bout of allergies or it's just plain too hot outside to stand in line. I implore you to invest a moment in some of these accounts and be reminded or spread the word of why voting is a privilege bestowed upon by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers that we should not take for granted.
In the spring of 1917, the National Women's Party began to picket the White House and the Capitol in order for the right to vote as part of a national campaign for a constitutional amendment for universal suffrage. Several months later, they were warned by the chief of police their protests would soon lead to arrests but they remained steadfast in their purpose, undeterred by the threat of consequence. I don't think any could have imagined what lie ahead.
Lucy Burns was wrongly arrested and convicted with 32 other women for 'obstructing sidewalk traffic,' while holding protest signs. One night, with the warden's blessing, 40 prison guards wielding clubs savagely beat the women. They chained Lucy's hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and barely alive.
For weeks in the prison, food for the women was infested with vermin and their only water was an open pail. This is picket leader, Alice Paul. When she decided to go on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair and forced liquid down her throat until she vomited. This torture went on for weeks.
There there is Helena Hill Weed, of Norwalk, Conn. Serving three-day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, ‘Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.'
Stories like this were all to common during that period of revolt. Affidavits recount women protesters being dragged, beaten, choked, slammed, pinched, and kicked all in the name of obstinance so that you and I can vote today. To read more about the sacrifices of these women you can view the essay here. http://www.wanttoknow.info/elections/womens_right_to_vote
Or better yet, take a few minutes out of your busy schedules this week to validate the courageous efforts of these women and vote. You do matter!