The 2016 Presidential Campaign has been a historic event for many reasons. Shocking, stressful, upending – this campaign has exposed the under belly of America and it isn’t pretty. Racism, classism, religious intolerance, economic uncertainty, xenophobia, the political establishment and misogyny – something to make everyone upset. Democracy is messy. It may be tempting to many to just stay home this year.
If you are contemplating taking a pass on your vote, I hope you’ll pause for a moment and remember the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention – the first women’s right convention that passed a resolution in favor of women’s suffrage. Do the names Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt ring a bell? For decades women filed lawsuits, marched, went on hunger strikes, picketed the White House, raised money and fought state by state for the right to cast a ballot.
These women also raised children (without disposable diapers or Sesame Street), ran households (without vacuum cleaners or washing machines) and organized (without the internet, airplanes or conference calls). They were determined. Thanks to them, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920. It states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
As Shirley Chisholm (the first woman to run for a major party’s nomination for president) said, “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” We HAVE a place at this moment in history. The election and voting process is a right and a responsibility. Do your homework. Read about everyone on your ballot. Get out to the polls and bring many women with you.
For more on this topic, check out our November newsletter and guest blogger.