Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Iron Jawed Angels

A few years ago I saw the movie “Iron Jawed Angels”.  It is about Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and other suffragettes that fought for the right for women to vote.  The other day I was thinking about the movie and I decided I wanted to see it again, so I bought it.  Last night, I watched it for the second time.

"Iron Jawed Angels" is one of those movies that makes me stop and think.  Ever since I was 18 and old enough to vote, I have done so.  It is how you let you voice be heard in our democracy.  It’s how I was raised.  Sure, I stop to think about my freedoms on days like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.  Did I know the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote?  Sure, I learned that in American history class in high school (and unlike a lot of my peers, I paid attention).  However, until I saw the movie, I hadn’t really given much thought to the fight and struggle it took to get that amendment passed.

The suffragettes endured years of struggle.  It was a fight that began in 1848 with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.  Courageous women continued this fight and passed it on to younger generations until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920.  What really struck me in the movie was how these women continued to fight, no matter the cost.  The suffragettes picketed the Wilson Administration for months and were ignored.  However, as the United States entered WWI, the Wilson Administration stopped ignoring the women.  They were arrested and some were jailed.  Alice Paul was among the suffragettes that were jailed.  While in jail she began a hunger strike.  Not wanting to have a martyr on their hands, the jail authorities began to force feed Paul after a few days.

So Dear Reader, you may be wondering why I am tell you this.  I know most of the time I’m either ranting about something that has irked me, or I’m giving some history lesson.  You could say this is both.  We are in an election year.  While I feel it is important to vote in every election (I like to have my voice heard every chance I get), this year has great importance.  We will be electing a President, our Chief Administrator.  We will be electing representatives to go to The House of Representatives (one half of our legislative body; they are elected every two years).  We will be electing 1/3 of our Senators (the other half; they are elected every six years on a rotating basis).  I feel these are major decisions.

As I keep my political opinions mainly to myself, this is not where I begin to campaign for one party or the other.  The only thing I want to do is encourage you to vote.  No, I want to IMPLORE you to vote!  Are you even registered?  If not, get registered today.  There is plenty of time before November (but by no means, don’t put it off).  Too much has been sacrificed for you not to exercise your right.  A revolutionary war was fought to give us freedom from tyranny.  We had to fight a civil war to end slavery and give every citizen, no matter HIS color the right to vote (15th Amendment).  Women had to continue to fight until 1920 to be granted the right to vote with the 19th Amendment.  

I now have the right to vote.  In consideration of the cost for this right, I feel it would be a disgrace not to exercise it.  Will you join me on November 6th and let your voice be heard?  I hope you do.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa

 Alice Paul circa 1901

No comments:

Post a Comment