The Nineteenth Amendment: Take it Seriously
Out of the blue and quite suddenly and unexpectedly, we now have Sarah Palin - a woman - running for vice president on the Republican ticket.
Now, as a Jew, I have had the double personal pride in knowing that Israel (way ahead of the United States) elected a Jewish woman as Prime Minister, Golda Meir, in 1969.Though I disagree with her political and social ideology and her decisions and erroneous assessments which plunged Israel into the Yom Kippur war in 1973, I still take pride in the fact that she was an educated, intelligent woman who held the highest political office in her country and was absolutely committed to her beloved Land of Israel and her People .
As an American, I think it's about time we arrived, but especially in this country, we need to take this very seriously indeed. Ever since I was first eligible, I registered to vote, and have voted in national, state and local elections ever since (well ok, I might have skipped one or two locals...) I have taken the right to vote seriously, and so should you.
Why do I say 'especially in this country?' Because we are a democracy; and just today, I received some information on the history of women's suffrage (hat tip to my good friend Dr. L.) which reminded me how very important this right is in a democracy, and how we should not take it for granted.
Yes, I learned about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the women's suffrage movement just like everyone else; but I don't remember learning much about the violent treatment of some of the suffragists who were arrested for non-violent picketing of the White House (and president Woodrow Wilson).
What I didn't remember (I don't remember this being taught in my school, but it was a long, long time ago, so...) was that some were treated in a horrifying manner which we would call torture, today.
Take the case of Lucy Burns, Alice Paul and Dora Lewis, who were incarcerated at the Occoquan Workhouse, a medium security prison. This is how they were treated, for being political prisoners, and protesting for women's rights:
Burns was arrested while picketing the White House and went to jail several times. In jail, Burns joined Alice Paul and many other women in hunger strikes, to demonstrate their commitment to their cause, claiming that they were political prisoners. Burns was force-fed and possibly tortured, as was Paul. Clift recounts that the force feeding of Lucy Burns required "five people to hold her down, and when she refused to open her mouth, they shoved the feeding tube up her nostril."  Of the well-known suffragists of the era, Burns spent the most time in jail.Dora Lewis (pictured here), was also badly mistreated:
Lewis was among the outspoken hunger-striking suffragist prisoners and she received some of the most brutal treatment at the hands of wardens at the District jail and the Occoquan Workhouse. During the infamous “Night of Terror” of November 15, 1917, at Occoquan, Lewis was hurled bodily into her cell. She was knocked unconscious and feared dead when she collided headfirst against her iron bed frame. Lewis and Lucy Burns were initial leaders of the hunger strike in Occoquan; both grew so weak that they were held down by attendants and force-fed through a tube.Can you imagine this being done today? We consider ourselves civilized, yet as late as 1917, this horrible treatment was being done to women who merely wanted the right to be represented as citizens of the United States. We are considered civilized, yet with regard to accepting women in high political office, we are still backward, Condoleeza Rice and Nancy Pelosi not withstanding.
For the first time we in the U.S. are fortunate enough to have a candidate who is as qualified to run for vice president on the Republican ticket as the candidate for president is on the Democratic ticket - if not more so. And she happens to be a woman.
Do not take this lightly: everyone, especially women, should get out this November, and VOTE!