Tomorrow is Election Day, and Ladies, we have a lot at stake in this election. The purpose of this entry isn’t to try to force you to vote one way or the other. No. I’m pleading with you to simply vote tomorrow. Recognize the Feminist in yourself and exercise your womens right to vote.
Please Don’t Refrain From Voting
I’m speaking to all of you amazing women out there who are eligible to vote and are registered but are choosing not to vote.
This isn’t about choosing a female President. Thats not what makes this about feminism or women’s rights.
This is about making the most important decision of your life: using your civic duty to vote, a right we had to fight nearly 100 years to obtain legally. A right that took us 132 years, from the conception of our nation, to obtain.
That, my amazing Ladies, is what makes this a Women’s Right issue.
That’s what makes it a Feminist issue.
Nothing could be more Feminist than exercising our right to vote.
I know that we’ve heard for the past 18 months just how. very. important. this. election. is. We’ve been telling each other how important Donald Trumps fuckery is. We’ve been telling each other how Gary Johnson’s lack of education and personality is. We’ve been telling each other how Jill Stein’s general anti-science whackadoodly-ness is a problem. We’ve been telling other that Hillary Clinton’s e-mails are a huge conspiracy and somehow… criminal? And she personally murdered people in Benghazi? Anyway.
We know the choices in the election that we’re expected to make are important.
Yes. We know.
We’re going to be voting for ourselves, for our own personal benefit, sure… but we’re also going to be voting for our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, best friends, nieces, neighbors, and most especially our daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters. If they don’t or can’t vote; if they’re voting for who we believe in our heart is the wrong candidate, then we really are voting on their behalf.
We’re going to be voting to maintain the right to decide what to do with our own healthcare; our bodies; how we’re treated in the workplace; how we’re paid; if we’re viewed with respect or as sex objects, and disposable.
It’s not drama or cliche to state that our lives, as women depend upon voting. Not just for voting day, and not just for four years or eight years. Our lives depend on the outcome of this election for decades to come. That’s not a cliche.
If you’re feeling disenfranchised, I get it. If you’re feeling as if there isn’t a candidate that represents you in any way, I get that too. If you’re feeling as if each candidate is saying something you can understand, but none of them are “perfect enough” I really do understand. I commiserate wholly. I understand all of those feelings, because I’ve cycled through them myself at various points in this election season.
Every election is important, and every single one seems to cause increasingly bad anxiety, but I realized that anxiety has much more to do with the increasingly horrible hate and anger I see among the people around me. It’s become more entrenched than ever that there’s a My Side versus Your Side in politics, with people convinced that the Other Side is not only not their cup of tea but evil. There’s this idea that if someone opposes your political views, or they voice a dissenting view it’s a declaration of war and a relationship destroyed .
Over the past two weeks, there’s been an increasing frenzy and panic from those who think their “side” is losing. I see that happening, and I see women who have always voted stating that they’re not voting in this election… at all. Not just in the Presidential Election, but the General Elections as well.
Your Vote Matters So Very Much, Ladies
So many people, so many women believe that a single vote… their vote doesn’t mean anything.
Ladies… oh my gosh, it does. It’s your voice!
It’s your individualty showing through, the one way to make sure your opinion and thoughts are given a voice to say that you matter.
It’s really intense, and the best ways to make a positive difference. We don’t have to like the fact that we have government, or how it runs. We don’t have to like the system. We’re part of it whether we like it or not and if we want and plan to ever change the parts of the system that aren’t working properly or fairly, then the only way to do that… to enact change is to vote. Get involved.
Back in Time…
Rich white Christian men have always known these things. They know that every single vote has power. Why do you think they denied women, all women, the right to vote until 1920?
The first time the United States ever used elections and voted was in the United States presidential election of 1788–89; it was the first quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Monday, December 15, 1788 to Saturday, January 10, 1789. Some men, an elect few, were allowed to vote. In the 1830’s the vote to extended to ALL white men, and in 1868 it was extended to Black men.
But it wasn’t until 1920… 132 years after elections and voting were established as a fair way to establish leadership, for women to obtain the right to vote.
Women Were NOT “Given” the Right to Vote
History will say that all who were born in the United States have been, by right of birth, U.S. citizens from the very beginning.
People frequently say things like American Women (all women in all demographics) were GIVEN the right to vote. Black Men in America were GIVEN the right to vote.
That’s not the truth. We had to fight for it, clawed ourselves bloody and bruised, literally, through public speaking and the court systems to obtain the right to vote.
The problem is that when citizens who were born in the United States are not treated equally, are not given the same rights, or the laws that ensure equal rights are not upheld in courts or by law enforcement, then we are not really all considered citizens. We are Other. We are Less Than. We are Property. We’re disposable and not worthy of tthoughts or consideration.
Any perceived threat to those in power is met with intimidation and creation of loopholes in the laws that are intended to protect those who are being discriminated against. The perceived threats are smote out early, fast, and without mercy. It’s how American men learned to deal with the British when Independence was fought for and won. Those same tactics were used against Native Americans. They’re used against all Federally Protected Classes. There’s a reason they’re protected… and yet those in power, those with extreme prejudices, still try to break those laws and create laws in direct violation.
Right now? 240 years after The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776?
The rights of women as equal citizens worthy of respect has not progressed for many men… and sadly, for many women. There are women who are perfectly happy to let men decide their fate and rule their lives. Back in the colonial days it was a throwback to England’s customs and traditions to have women be the “wards” of their fathers, and then property of their husbands. This is an idea that still permeates our culture today. Some claim it’s Biblical or just a desire to have a “traditional marriage when life was good in the 50’s.”
The Women’s Right Movement began as far back as 1848 in the U.S. Women recognized the injustices including and especially upstanding women in the community and their religious communities.
“The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
- Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law
- Women were not allowed to vote
- Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
- Married women had no property rights
- Husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity
- Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women
- Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes
- Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned
- Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
- Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students
- With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
- Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men
Now, in view of this entire disenfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation, — in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.” ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton
In the 1830s, the vote was extended to all white men, in 1868 to black men. Except in the South especially, there were disenfranchisement laws such as Grandfather clauses that said if your grandfather could vote, so could you. If your grandfather didn’t vote, where did that leave the black men who had just won the right to vote? There were also literacy tests. If someone couldn’t read, they couldn’t vote. At the time black men won the right to vote (won, not given) most were not free men, they were slaves, and many slave owners severely punished their slaves if they were caught reading or learning to read. Nice, eh? Such a lovely history of voting disenfranchisement.
When the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, it legally enfranchised all women to vote, white and black.
However, within a decade, state laws and vigilante practices managed to disenfranchise most black women in the South. Additionally, there were expensive poll taxes. Yes you had to pay a poll tax in order to be allowed to vote and if you were poor, or poor and black, then you couldn’t vote.
It took women nearly 100 years from the start of the Women’s Movement to win a bitter battle to vote against staunch, hateful adversity and yet now, not even 100 years after women won that most tedious of fights, there are women ready to give up their votes?
Shameful. I’m sorry, but it’s shameful.
The Disdain Is Not One of Moral High Ground
By refraining to vote in the General Elections and/or the Presidential Elections of 2016, the worst of us… our apathy, impassivity, disdain, show a clear negligence and clear disregard for accountability in the well being of our local and state governments as well as our national government.
You’re not making a statement, not even one that states how weary you are of it all. The only disdain that you show is to your fellow women, and those who fought, were imprisoned, and died for your right to vote.
By refraining to vote, Ladies, I can’t help but notice a clear lack of empathy. I can’t help but notice your choice to ignore the very real issues that face every single individual in this country, but especially those that will affect those closest to you.
If you refrain from voting, you’re not making a statement of any kind. Your voice won’t be heard in any way. Not politically, not socially, not morally or ethically. The vote is your voice, and the vote is how you make your voice count.
Refusing to vote, whether out of frustration or to make a statement, stifles your voice in every way possible. You lose a right, willingly, that was fought for very heavily… a right that women before us died for and were imprisoned for while fighting.
If you want to protest, if you want your voice to be heard, then get to the voting booth! That’s where it happens! The more of us that vote, the more of an effect we’ll have!
It ought to enrage you, Ladies, no matter what your political affiliation, that Women’s Rights are even debateable and in question.
We need to make sure that we send the message that Women’s Rights are not actually on the table, to be discussed seriously as to whether we have a right to be treated with human decency.
Trust Me, There Won’t Be Enough Good People Voting
Unless you vote, there won’t be enough good people voting.
We can’t give tacit permission for any government to red pen the Constitutional Amendments that ensure women have Equal Rights, Civil Rights, Human Rights. If we don’t vote, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.
Choosing not to vote, and the apathy that would show, that choice you make gives lawmakers the ability to continuously and regularly vote against Women’s Rights… and it doesn’t impress me. It disgusts me. Because when enough people decide that their votes don’t count, then enough good people don’t show up at the polls to vote in good people. And then the good people who would enact better policies and laws than the “other guy” end up screwing over everyone… especially women.
My fear here is that too many women are in the frame of mind that there will be enough other voters to “make up for” their vote, and therefore their candidate will make it in. Or that there are women who are throwing away their vote by allowing their significant others to tell them who to vote for rather than allowing them to make up their own minds. Or that there are women who really do believe that their vote won’t matter at all so why bother because “the election is rigged.”
No, no, and no.
I love it when I stumble on neat little facts because I can always use them at some point. For instance, this one:
There were about 125.9 million adult women in the United States in 2014. The number of men was 119.4 million.
My math skills aren’t fabulous, but I think that’s 54%. In fact, I believe that I’ve heard we do make up 54% of the citizenship of the United States of America.
That makes women a very powerful force in this country. That makes us an important force.
One would think that the Women’s Rights Movement, a Human Rights Movement to be clear here, would have moved our rights and how this nation respects Women along much further than it has. It’s been moving at a snail’s pace and America’s Daughters are taking the rights we have fought for and won for granted.
One would think that for all of the talk we do, Ladies, we’d recognize our true power. It lies in the fierceness of not backing down, and using our power to vote.
Why? Because it’s historically inaccurate, and it’s not how it really happened. There were Civil Rights Movements. There was Women’s Suffrage and a Women’s Rights Movement that is still ongoing. This nation is still going through multiple Civil Rights and Human Rights movements in multiple areas right very now… yes in 2016.
To throw your vote away as if it means nothing, to throw it away in protest, is disowning responsibility for anything that may go wrong later. It’s not a way out. You will still be culpable.
Your vote is YOUR vote as long as you use it. Don’t make excuses to abstain from voting. It’s not only your civic duty, it’s your ethical, moral duty.
What I really, really do care about in your vote? Please be sure to educate yourself from unbiased sources; fact check. So if you’re going to Fact Check Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, don’t go to either of their web sites. Don’t go to any politically based sites either. Choose neutral sources, and by that I mean “not Facebook memes or info-graphics.”
There ARE unbiased resources out there where you can find the actual facts for each candidate. All of them, all of the political parties. It’s how I narrowed down my choice. I know many of you disagree with my personal choice and you know what? THAT’S OKAY WITH ME!!!! You know why? It’s your opinion, and it’s your vote. YOUR VOTE.
You just have to make sure that you’re there at the polls! We have to use our rights to vote that we fought so very hard for, not so very long ago, or we risk losing all of the rights we’ve fought for. Every single one.
Doing nothing, being complacent, is the same thing as knowing there’s evil about to enter and do evil things and doing nothing to stop it.
VOTE. Just vote. Disagree with me until the cows come home regarding my personal politics. That’s awesome. I don’t care! The election is tomorrow and then it’s over! Then we get to deal with fallout! But for now, for now we just have to commit to voting!
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