For four generations and led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony, American women pushed for the right to vote. While the sentiment existed prior to Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments in 1848, that event marks the date women defiantly called out dissatisfaction with patriarchal American law.
Neither of these two great leaders of the suffragist movement saw their dream enacted into law. Anthony even faced Federal trial in 1872, her crime ‘illegally’ casting a vote, her illegality by way of gender – vagina people need not vote, only penis people. The judge in the case instructed the all male jury to find her guilty.
That very same election, Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for president. By wandering beyond established societal gender boundaries, Victoria offended the sensibilities of those who created artificial rules designed to keep patriarchy in firm sway. On Election Day in 1872, she was in prison.
The 19th Amendment passed in a fitting 1919, at last granting women the right to vote. At the time, observers feared the impact on American politics if women voted as a united bloc. It didn’t quite turn out that way, and fears eased.
Fast-forward ninety-two years. In 2011, after an election that put radical conservatives in power across this country, state after state, as well as the Republican controlled US House of Representatives attempted to pass or passed legislation designed to impair the reproductive rights of women. The list is too long to run through here, but includes waiting periods, ultrasounds, and a personhood amendment that failed in Mississippi.
This year, the presidential campaign features candidates attempting to outdo each other with their radical proposals to curtail reproductive rights. At the same time, Planned Parenthood became a target of these radicals, with misinformation spread about the services offered by this wonderful organisation. The Komen controversy struck at the same time candidates dissed contraceptives, and the confluence of the two has sparked outrage.
Single women are a notoriously hard group to get into polling booths. Decidedly liberal, their vote swings elections. And the right musters them into one long queue, ready to pounce on voting booths.
It’s the damnedest thing I’ve seen in politics in my lifetime. It seems there are daily pronouncements, delusional at best, coming from rightist leaders. They think it plays well, but the truth is it has recast them in a different light as culture warriors out to roll back the advances of women to a time where our work options and reproductive choices were limited.
Yesterday, an Indiana politician dissed the Girl Scouts of America, calling them a radicalised organisation with a close affiliation with Planned Parenthood. He went on to say their role models are feminists, lesbians, and communists.
Well, he has me on two of three, but then I’m not a role model, thank goodness. It’s almost like the political right needs either an enema or an exorcism. Either way, we aren’t going back.
I suspect this fool conduct will flip the election this fall in the third wild swing in four years. For the first time, that 1919 fear of women voting as a unified bloc might well come to pass. And this time Democrats…lead.