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Archive for July 2016

Case In Point

Posted on: July 30, 2016

This is a video that distills in to 6 minutes just a fraction of the sexist and disgusting things said about Hillary Clinton. If you can’t make it through the full video, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself if any woman in political life–regardless of party–deserves this inhuman, juvenile, nasty disgusting vitriol. The world loathes a powerful woman, and will do anything to keep her in her place. No, friends, women are not given our rights. We have to endure evil on this scale to take them.

 

They do exist. Every family has them. The anti-Black Black person. The self-hating Jew. And yes, the anti-woman woman.  I wrote the following post after reading one too many comments from women about how they would never vote for Hillary because she stayed with her husband 20 years ago after he cheated on her. Well, I am not here for women who think they can police other women’s marriages. I am not here for women who think they speak from some higher plane of morality and authority than another woman addressing her own personal family circumstances. I am not here for women who lack the basic humility to recognize that maybe they don’t know everything about another human being just by reading a newspaper. I am not here for women who do not recognize the sovereignty and uniquely personal nature of every other woman’s marriage. I am not here for any of it.

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On July 28, 2016, a woman became the first presidential nominee of a major political party in the United States of America.

Whatever your politics and whatever your opinion of the nominee, this is a historic moment that we should ALL cheer. Anyone who doesn’t see this event for the truly historic and important and consequential sea change that it is needs to crack a book and learn our history.

When the founding fathers (yes, they were all “fathers”) wrote “We The People” they really only had a small group of people in mind: White male Christian landowners. When they spoke of self-evident truths, they were speaking only of the truth for that particular group of men.

Over the years of this democratic experiment known as The United States of America, the people of this nation have worked to expand that little circle of ‘we the people’ to rightfully include us all. It has taken centuries, but little by little we have widened the circle to include poor whites, black people, Native Americans, Jews, multitudes of citizens of multiple ethnicities and faiths–and, yes, women.

Women have had the right to vote in the United States only since 1920. Think about that. A mere 96 years. There are some women alive today who were born under the assumption that they were not smart enough, not emotionally equipped enough, not inherently competent enough to vote. Why would you let a female vote?! Good lord. What’s next? Puppies? Puppy suffrage!

It has been just 9 decades since I–and every woman reading this–would have been considered too dumbass to pick a president.  All that thinking would shrivel our ovaries and give us the vapors. All of our daughters would be taught and would learn from their earliest moments of political consciousness that participating in our democracy as equals was not for them. So let us not even BEGIN to imagine a world wherein we would be considered competent to not only vote for a high office, but to hold it.

This nomination matters whether you like the nominee or not. People who don’t like the nominee want to minimize it (she is NOT the first you know! Victoria Woodhull in 1872! Blah blah. Listen. She wasn’t 35 and therefore was not eligible to run. Her party was not a major party of anything at any time. And it was a political stunt to make a point. So move along with your nonsense nitpicking).

This nomination matters.

It matters to me as a woman who grew up with notions that you could be a “Girl President” but with the tacit understanding that it wasn’t really ever going to happen. I remember t-shirts that actually said, “Girl President” as if “President” were not descriptive enough.

It matters to the generation of women who came before me. The ones on whose shoulders we all stand. The ones who were the “firsts.” The first female microbiologist. The first female big city mayor. The first female astronaut. The first female US Senator. They broke all those barriers at great personal cost to themselves, since it will not surprise you to hear that some of the men in those spheres were not entirely welcoming; and in many cases were openly hostile.

It matters to the spirits of women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells and Lucy Stone and Sojourner Truth. To the spirits of the men of the movement like Frederick Douglass and Henry Blackwell.

People forget that women were not GIVEN the right to vote. We had to win it. We had to take it. We had to fight for it by any means necessary:

Newly arrested and convicted suffragists had arrived at Occoquan and were in a holding room awaiting further processing. Without warning, Superintendent Whittaker burst into the room, followed by anywhere from fifteen to forty guards. Pandemonium broke out. Whittaker shouted orders to guards to take this prisoner or that prisoner — often identified by name — to the cells. The scene was one of bedlam, intentionally disorienting. Suffragists feared for their lives and the lives of their compatriots. May Nolan, a seventy-three-year-old Floridian with a lame leg that she had to take pains to treat gingerly, was literally dragged off between burly guards, each of whom held an arm, despite her assertions that she would go willingly and despite the pleas of other suffragists to refrain from injuring her leg. Dorothy Day had her arm twisted behind her back and was purposefully slammed down twice over the back of an iron bench. Dora Lewis was thrown into a cell with such force that she was knocked unconscious. For several frantic minutes her companions believed that she was dead. Alice M. Cosu of New Orleans was also thrown forcefully into her cell. Cosu suffered a heart attack and repeated and persistent requests for medical attention for the obviously stricken woman went unanswered by the authorities throughout the long night. Lucy Burns, who had been arrested once again on November 10, shortly after completing her previous sixty-day sentence, was identified by Whittaker as the ringleader for the group. She was manacled to her cell bars, hands above her head, and remained that way until morning. Later, her clothing was removed and she was left with only a blanket.

This was what those women went through to acquire what we all breezily take for granted in 2016. They were beaten and stripped naked. Publicly shamed. Physically harmed. Because they saw themselves–and their daughters and their grand daughters–as rightful claimants to “We The People.”

And so Thursday night’s official candidacy of Hillary Clinton is a compelling and significant moment in this nation’s history. For our daughters, and all the daughters–and sons–that will come after us.  Set partisanship and personal opinions to the side for one brief moment, and recognize this nomination as but one more way in which we are perfecting this great Union.

 

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