Thursday, September 18, 2008

on the vagina vote

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers;

They lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right

to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed

nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking

for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.
Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing
went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of
'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above
her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping
for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her
head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate,
Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.
Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging,
beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917,
when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his
guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because
they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right
to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail.

Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike,

they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured

liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks
until word was smuggled out to the press.

Sometimes my friends wonder why I get worked up over things like being manipulated to surrender my 'vagina vote' to whomever best manipulates me by claiming an interest in women's point of view, or by dressing a woman up and having her represent the party.

I do not appreciate feeling manipulated, treated like I cannot think or discern issues. Who I choose to support should be my choice, and I want to be expected to be thoughtful. I don't enjoy seeing ET run a feature on how I can dress like Sarah Palin, on a budget. When did she become the icon for women's expression of life? Because yes, dammit, I know she has been clothed in very expensively cut clothes, the kind a pit bull from Alaska would never herself choose to put on her Christmas wish list. And I don't like feeling obligated by ideological group think to stay with any party regardless of personal choice. A vote IS personal. It is an expression of voice. It is a hope (perhaps a forlorn one, but a hope none-the-less.) It is a belief in a possibly different world. It is a cry for the poor, for children. It is a song in which I carry the tune, even if for one small moment.

So don't expect me to jump onto any bandwagon, even if it's major cheerleader has breasts. (Some men have breasts too, I have noticed, and they shamelessly display them. But that is another blog.)

This matters. Just letting you know.



2 comments:

jeremiah said...

freaking brilliant...you are my transparency and critical thinking sensei!

manboobs line was awesome, so true.

karen said...

You preach it sister. The right to vote is a very precious thing. Canada is having an election, too, but nothing emotionally charged ever happens in a Canadian election. In fact, I wonder if Canadian politicians even have emotions...