These say everything there is to say about a Trump Presidency. The illustrations are elegant in their approach.
In his 1963 abecederian picture book The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Edward Gorey recounted the increasingly gruesome deaths of 26 children. In this parody the US game designer Mike Selinker outlines an A to Z of similarly gruesome eventualities he expects will befall a world in which Trump is president – with each one illustrated by a favourite comic or fantasy artist.
‘Whilst listing all of the things that we would lose if Mr Trump ascended to Pennsylvania Avenue, I thought, “Why don’t people remember these things?”’ Selinker writes in the introduction. ‘And then I thought perhaps it was because they didn’t have a mnemonic to remember it by. Something catchy. Something horrifying. And so this book.’
There is an important time coming up for all American citizens. You have been given the right to vote. It is your responsibility to vote. It is what makes us a democracy. We have fought to give Black people and women the vote and we must not take voting for granted.
Don’t vote out of anger or wanting to get back at your party because your candidate didn’t win. Vote because you are clear thinking and this is a very important time in history and you want a say in where the world is going.
Please take a few minutes and read these facts about Hillary. Thank you.
Thinking About Hillary — A Plea for Reason
“In the course of a single conversation, I have been assured that Hillary is cunning and manipulative but also crass, clueless, and stunningly impolitic; that she is a hopelessly woolly-headed do-gooder and, at heart, a hardball litigator; that she is a base opportunist and a zealot convinced that God is on her side. What emerges is a cultural inventory of villainy rather than a plausible depiction of an actual person.” — Henry Louis Gates
The quote above comes from a fascinating article called “Hating Hillary”, written by Gates for the New Yorker in 1996. Even now, 20 years after it was first published, it’s a fascinating and impressive piece, and if you have a few spare moments I strongly recommend it to you.
And I’m reading pieces like this because now that Hillary has (essentially if not officially) won the Democratic Primary, I have become increasingly fascinated by the way so many people react to her. In truth, I sometimes think that I find that as interesting as Hillary herself. And I can’t help but notice that many of the reactions she receives seem to reflect what Gates referred to as “a cultural inventory of villainy” rather than any realistic assessment of who she really is and what she has really done.
To conservatives she is a radical left-wing insurgent who has on multiple occasions been compared to Mikhail Suslov, the Soviet Kremlin’s long-time Chief of Ideology. To many progressives (you know who you are), she is a Republican fox in Democratic sheep’s clothing, a shill for Wall Street who doesn’t give a damn about the working class. The fact that these views could not possibly apply to the same person does not seem to give either side pause. Hillary haters on the right and the left seem perfectly happy to maintain their mutually incompatible delusions about why she is awful. The only thing both teams seem to share is the insistence that Hillary is a Machiavellian conspirator and implacable liar, unworthy of society’s trust.
And this claim of unabated mendacity is particularly interesting, because while it is not the oldest defamation aimed at Hillary, it is the one that most effortlessly glides across partisan lines. Indeed, for a surprisingly large percentage of the electorate, the claim that Hillary is innately dishonest is simply accepted as a given. It is an accusation and conviction so ingrained in the conversation about her that any attempt to even question it is often met with shock. And yet here’s the thing: it’s not actually true. Politifact, the Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking project, determined for example that Hillary was actually the most truthful candidate (of either Party) in the 2016 election season. And in general Politifact has determined that Hillary is more honest than most (but not all) politicians they have tracked over the years.
Also instructive is Jill Abramson’s recent piece in the Guardian. Abramson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal as well as former Executive Editor of the New York Times, had this to say about Hillary’s honesty: “As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”
Notice how Abramson uses the word “surprising”? She’s obviously doing that for our benefit, because she knows that many readers will be astonished at the very thought of Hillary being “fundamentally honest”. But why? In my opinion we need to go back to the time of Whitewater in order to answer that question.
In January of 1996, while Whitewater investigations were underway but unfinished, conservative writer William Safire wrote a scathing and now-famous essay about Hillary Clinton entitled, “Blizzard of Lies”. In the piece he called her a “congenital liar”, and accused her of forcing her friends and subordinates into a “web of deceit”. He insisted (without any apparent evidence) that she took bribes, evaded taxes, forced her own attorneys to perjure themselves, “bamboozled” bank regulators, and was actively involved in criminal enterprises that defrauded the government of millions of dollars. He ended the piece by stating that, “She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.”
I am no political historian, but as far as I can tell this short essay was the birth of the “Hillary is a Liar” meme. Now to be clear, most conservatives already strongly disliked her. They had been upset with her for some time because she had refused to play the traditional First Lady role. And they were horrified by her attempt to champion Universal Health coverage. But if you look for the actual reasons people didn’t like her back at that time, you won’t see ongoing accusations of her being “crooked” or a “liar”. Instead, the most common opinion seemed to be that she was a self-righteous leftist who considered anyone with other views to be morally inferior. In short, the prevailing anti-Hillary accusation was not that she was unrelentingly dishonest, but that she was just intolerably smug.
After the Safire piece however, this all changed. Republicans, who learned from Nixon never to let a good propaganda opportunity pass if they could help it, repeated the accusations of mendacity non-stop to anyone who would broadcast or print them. And if you doubt the staying power of Safire’s piece, type the phrase “congenital liar” into a Google search along with “Hillary Clinton” and see what happens. To this day, that exact phrase is still proudly used by many on the right. This, even though Safire was eventually proven wrong about everything he had written. And despite the fact that he stated himself that he would have to “eat crow” if she were ever cleared, Safire never apologized or even acknowledged his many errors once that happened. Because as we all know, swift-boating means never having to say you’re sorry.
But while conservative propaganda and lies are a constant in “Hillaryland”, if we look at Hillary’s career, and the negative attacks so often aimed at her, it seems clear that more than just political machinations are at play. My current conviction is that the main fuel that powers the anti-Hillary crowd is sexism. And yes I’m serious. So go ahead and roll your eyes. Get it over with. But I think the evidence supports my view, and I’ve seen no other plausible explanation. And just to be clear, I don’t think it’s ONLY sexism. But I do think that this is the primary force that has generated and maintained most of the negative narratives about Hillary.
Of course accusations of sexism always bump up against several serious impediments:
1) Almost nobody will admit to it. Conservatives decided long ago that all such accusations (sexism, racism, homophobia, etc) are standard liberal bullshit whose only real intent is to shut down debate, and liberals tend to possess a sense of moral entitlement which leads them to consider themselves automatically exempt from all such accusations. (Side note: if you did roll your eyes above, there’s a good chance I’m describing you here. Sorry.)
2) Overt sexism is significantly more likely to be tolerated in our society than overt racism. It is a low-risk form of bigotry and discrimination that rarely damages professional or political careers. Because of this, far fewer people worry about crossing that line.
3) We have formed a sort of collective blindness to sexism that allows us to pretend that we are on top of the issue while simultaneously ignoring the many ways in which it actually permeates our society. (Side note 2: There’s a reason it’s called a “glass” ceiling.)
4) Unlike men, women who make demands are still often seen as unfeminine and inappropriately aggressive, bordering on deviant. And if the people most aggressively pushing against the glass ceiling are “broken” or “deviant”, it’s easier to justify dismissing both them and their concerns.
So I’ve made a claim. Let’s look at some numbers. Take a look at the image above. On the right side you’ll see a chart. This is a chart of Hillary’s popularity over time. It was put together by Nate Silver, who based it on over 500 high-quality phone surveys dating back to the early 90’s. If we take a look at the polling data, very obvious patterns emerge.
In the early 90’s her polling was great, which was typical for an incoming First Lady. But Hillary had no interest in being a typical First Lady, and soon took charge of one of the most important policy initiatives of the Clinton Presidency: Universal Health Care. If you look at the first large red arrow I have on the graphic, you’ll see that as soon as she did that her negatives skyrocketed. And yes this was before Whitewater. In fact during the ongoing Whitewater investigations her polling improved dramatically, so she actually became significantly MORE popular during that period, not less.
Now take a look at the second arrow. This is where she declared that she was going to run for the Senate. See what happened? She was at one of the most popular periods of her life, but as soon as she declared a run for the Senate her favorables plummeted while her unfavorables rose sharply. Then once she was elected, her scores stabilized and even improved. Now look at the third arrow. Nearly exactly at the same time she withdrew from the Presidential race her favorables took off again, rising to levels that many considered remarkable. (Or are we pretending not to remember that until very recently Hillary was one of the most popular politicians in the country?) In fact the image on the left of the graph is part of the “bad-ass Hillary” meme that started during this time. And her polling stayed high right up until she decided to run for President again. Her numbers since then are not on this particular graph, but I think we all know what happened to them.
So what do we see in this data? What I see is that the public view of Hillary Clinton does not seem to be correlated to “scandals” or issues of character or whether she murdered Vince Foster. No, the one thing that seems to most negatively and consistently affect public perception of Hillary is any attempt by her to seek power. Once she actually has that power her polls go up again. But whenever she asks for it her numbers drop like a manhole cover.
And in fact I started thinking more about this after reading an article thatSady Doyle wrote for Quartz back in February. The title of the piece was, “America loves women like Hillary Clinton — as long as they’re not asking for a promotion.” In the article Ms. Doyle asserted that, “The wild difference between the way we talk about Clinton when she campaigns and the way we talk about her when she’s in office can’t be explained as ordinary political mud-slinging. Rather, the predictable swings of public opinion reveal Americans’ continued prejudice against women caught in the act of asking for power…”
And yes this is the kind of statement that many people will find reflexively annoying. But that doesn’t make it any less true, and the data certainly seems to support it. Even NBC news, looking back over decades of their own polls, stated that, “she’s struggled to stay popular when she’s on the campaign trail.” If this has nothing to do with gender, then wouldn’t the same thing happen to men when they campaign? But it doesn’t. Why not?
So let’s look at the issues people are currently using to disparage Clinton. Let’s consider the issues of dishonesty, scandals, money and Wall Street.
1) Honesty — In terms of honesty, I’ve already addressed that. Hillary is a politician, and like all politicians she is no stranger to “massaging” and/or exaggerating the truth. And yes on occasion she will let loose a whopper. But is she worse than other politicians? As I’ve already discussed, the evidence suggests that she is no worse, and actually better, than most other politicians. Internet videos like the “13 minutes of Hillary lying” appear to be mostly examples of Hillary changing her position over several decades, combined with annoying but typical political behavior. But similar videos of Donald Trump exist showing him doing an even more extreme version of the same thing. Why is he not being accused of this type of mendacity? In fact there is very little dispute that Trump has been SIGNIFICANTLY less honest on the campaign trail than Hillary. According to Politifact he is in fact the least honest candidate they’ve ever analyzed! So if the issue of honesty is really that important, why are so many people (on the right and left) holding Hillary to such an obviously different standard than Trump?
2) Scandals — Webster’s dictionary defines a scandal as, “an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong.” But here’s a question: Are scandals still scandals if nobody actually did anything wrong? And I think that’s a fair question, because Hillary’s political foes love to point out all the times she has been implicated (directly or indirectly) in scandals. Not surprisingly, however, they fail to point out that she has always been cleared of any wrongdoing.
So if she’s always innocent, why then does she find herself caught up in so many scandals? For that answer, perhaps we should look at the Wikipedia definition of scandal, which states, “A scandal can be broadly defined as an accusation or accusations that receive wide exposure. Generally there is a negative effect on the credibility of the person or organization involved.” Notice the important difference? Perhaps the “negative effect on credibility” is not so much the RESULT of these scandals as it is the INTENT of those who create them.
Did you know that Republicans once spent 10 days and 140 hours investigating the Clintons’ use of the White House Christmas Card list? Because that is a real thing that actually happened. As the Atlantic recentlypointed out, “No other American politicians — even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush — have fostered the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.” (And for an impressive presentation of this issue I highly recommend Hanna Rosin’s piece “Among the Hillary Haters”, also in the Atlantic.)
Compare for example the treatment Hillary is getting due to her private email “scandal” to that of General David Petraeus. Hillary has been accused of hosting a personal email server that “might” have made classified documents less secure, even though the documents in question were not classified as secret at the time she received and/or sent them. (Side note: some government documents receive secret classifications “at birth”, while other can be retroactively classified as secret.) In order for Clinton to have committed a criminal act, she would have had to knowingly and willfully mishandle material that was classified at the time she did so. After months of investigation no one has accused her of doing that, and it doesn’t appear as if anyone will.
General Petraeus on the other hand, while he was Director of the CIA, knowingly gave a writer, who was also his mistress, a series of black books which according to the Justice Department contained, “classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions quotes and deliberative discussions from high level National Security Council meetings and [Petraeus’] discussions with the president of the United States of America.” Petraeus followed that up by lying to numerous government officials, including FBI agents, about what he had done. And lets not forget that according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adultery is itself a court-martial offense. And I remind you that none of this is in dispute. Petraeus admitted to all of it.
Petraeus’ violations were significantly more egregious than anything Clinton is even remotely accused of. And yet Republicans and other Hillary foes are howling about her issue, wearing “Hillary for Prison 2016” t-shirts while insisting that this disqualifies her from public office. Meanwhile even after pleading guilty to his crimes Petraeus continued to be the recipient of fawning sentiments from conservatives. Senator John McCain stated that, “All of us in life make mistakes and the situation now, I hope, can be put behind him…” Politico quoted a former military officer who worked with Petraeus as calling the entire situation “silly”. Prominent Republicans have already made it clear that they would call him back to work in the highest levels of government if they win the Presidency. And some are still attempting to convince him to seek the Presidency himself.
Why is Hillary Clinton being held to such an obviously different standard than Petraeus? Is it really only politics?
3) Money — OK let’s talk about her money. Hillary has a lot of it. And she has earned most of it through well-paid speaking fees. And the idea of getting paid $200,000 or more for a single speech seems so ludicrous to many people that they assume that it simply must be some form of bribery. But the truth is that there is a large, well-established and extremely lucrative industry for speaking and appearance fees. And within that industry many celebrities, sports stars, business leaders and former politicians get paid very well. At her most popular for example, Paris Hilton was being paid as much as $750,000 just to make an appearance. Kylie Jenner was once paid over $100,000 to go to her own birthday party, and to this day Vanilla Ice gets $15,000 simply to show up with his hat turned sideways.
And let’s talk about the more cerebral cousin of the appearance agreement, which is the speaking engagement. Is $200k really that unusual? In fact “All American Speakers”, the agency that represents Clinton, currently represents 135 people whose MINIMUM speaking fee is $200,000. Some of the luminaries that get paid this much include: Guy Fieri, Ang Lee, Cara Delevingne, Chelsea Handler, Elon Musk, Mehmet Oz, Michael Phelps, Nate Berkus, and “Larry the Cable Guy”. And no that last one is not a joke. And if you drop the speaking fee to $100k, the number of people they represent jumps to over 500. At $50,000 the number jumps to over 1,200. And All American Speakers are obviously not the only agency that represents speakers. So there are in fact thousands of people getting paid this kind of money to give a speech.
For millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills, the very idea that someone can make $100,000 or more for just giving a speech or hanging out at a Vegas nightclub is obscene. But as Richard Nixon used to say, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Hillary didn’t invent the speaking engagement industry, and she isn’t anywhere near the first person to make a lot of money from it. And while her fees are in the upper range of what speakers make, neither they nor the total amount of money she has made are unusual. It’s just unusual FOR A WOMAN.
And yes, I’m back on that, because I feel compelled to point out that before he ran for President in 2007, Rudy Giuliani was making about $700,000 a month in speaking fees with an average of $270k per speech. It’s estimated that in the 5 years before his run he earned as much as $40 million in speaking fees. Nobody cared, no accusations of impropriety were made, and there was almost no media interest. So why did Giuliani get a pass, while Hillary stands accused of inherent corruption for making less money doing the same thing?
And speaking of corruption, after leaving the Florida governor’s office Jeb Bush made millions of dollars in paid speeches. This includes large sums he collected from a South Korean metals company that reaped over a BILLION dollars in contracts from his brother’s presidential administration. Speaking to an Indian newspaper about this type of thing Bush said, “This is the life of being the brother of the president.” Do you remember reading all about that while Jeb was running for President? I didn’t think so. Jeb got a pass too.
So if this discussion is really about money in politics that’s fine. But I’m going to need someone to explain to me why we only seem to focus on it when the person making the money has a vagina.
4) Wall Street — First things first. No, the majority of the money Clinton has made from speaking fees did not come from Wall Street. In fact it’s not even close. She has given nearly 100 paid speeches since leaving the State Dept., and only 8 were to “Wall Street” banks. Nearly all of her speeches were to organizations like American Camping Association, Ebay, Cisco, Xerox, Cardiovascular Research Foundation, United Fresh Produce Association, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, California Medical Association, A&E Television Networks, Massachusetts Conference for Women, U.S. Green Building Council, National Association of Realtors, American Society of Travel Agents, Gap, National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, etc.
Corporations and Associations pay large fees for important speakers all of the time. And Hillary got booked fairly often because she is interesting and popular, and because there’s a great deal of status attached to having her speak at an event. Ignoring all of this however, a large contingent of anti-Hillary people continue to insist that all speaker’s fees from Wall Street banks were bribes, and that because of this they “own” her. But by that logic shouldn’t we all be asking what the fuck the American Camping Association is up to?
Also, with the possible exception of one speech given to Deutsche Bank, all of Hillary’s 8 speeches to Wall Street were for a speaking fee of $225,000. That does not even break the top 20 of her highest paid speeches. For example she received over $275,000 each in three speeches she gave to The Vancouver Board of Trade, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, and Canada 2020. So apparently Canadians also “own” her. And I don’t know what those nefarious Canadians are up to, but it probably has something to do with goddamn poutine. Which would really piss me off except I just remembered that I kind of like poutine so never mind.
Listen, does Wall Street have influence with Hillary? Grow up, of course they do. Wall Street is one of the key engines of the American economy, and as such has enormous influence with everyone. EVERYONE. Don’t kid yourself on that point. And aside from anything else, she was a 2-term Senator of New York, and this made Wall Street an important corporate member of her constituency. The issue is not influence. The issue is whether or not paid speeches and campaign donations alone are proof of corruption. And they’re not. And the last time I checked there was an important difference between association and guilt, between proof and slander.
And again: why is Hillary being held to a standard that never appears to be applied to her male counterparts? Am I not supposed to notice that a media frenzy has been aimed at Hillary Clinton for accepting speaking fees of $225,000 while Donald Trump has been paid $1.5 MILLION on numerous occasions with hardly a word said about it? Am I supposed to not notice that we are now in an election season in which Donald Trump, a proud scam artist whose involvement in “Trump University” alone is being defined by the New York Attorney General as “straight-up fraud”, is regularly calling Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and getting away with it?
What the actual fuck is going on here? What’s going on is what we all know, but mostly don’t want to admit: presidential campaigns favor men, and the men who campaign in them are rewarded for those traits perceived as being “manly” — physical size, charisma, forceful personality, assertiveness, boldness and volume. Women who evince those same traits however are usually punished rather than rewarded, and a lot of the negativity aimed at Hillary over the years, especially when she is seeking office, has been due to these underlying biases. There is simply no question that Hillary has for years been on the business end of an unrelenting double standard. And her battle with societal sexism isn’t going to stop because of her success anymore than Obama’s battle with racism stopped once he was elected. These are generational issues, and we are who we are.
And actually, this only makes her victory all the more amazing. And maybe it’s OK if we pause for a moment from the accusations and paranoia and just acknowledge her enormous accomplishments. In the entire history of our nation, only 6 Presidents have also served as Secretary of State. Only 3 have served both as Secretary of State and in Congress. By any objective measure Hillary Clinton is not just the most qualified candidate this season, she’s one of the most qualified people to ever seek the office. The New York Times in endorsing her stated that, “voters have the chance to choose one of the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidates in history.” Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg stated that, “she is probably the best qualified presidential candidate ever.” Even Marco Rubio, one-time choice of the GOP establishment (and tea-party love-child) stated in a Republican debate that, “If this is a resume contest, Hillary Clinton is going to be the new President of the United States.”
Hillary is nobody’s idea of perfect. Fine. But in my view if a man with her qualifications were running in the Democratic primary, Bernie would have been done before he even started. And if a man with her qualifications had been running for the Republicans, they’d be anointing him the next Reagan while trying to sneak his face onto Mount Rushmore.
Most of the people who hate Hillary when she’s running for office end up liking her just fine once she’s won. And I have every confidence that history will repeat itself again this November. As for myself, I have been watching Presidential elections since Nixon. And never in my life has there been an easier or more obvious choice than now. Trump is not merely a bad choice, he is (as many leading Republicans have already admitted) a catastrophic choice, unfit in every possible way for the office of the Presidency.
As such, I happily voted for Hillary in my primary. And I will proudly vote for her in November. Yes she will disappoint us all on occasion. Who doesn’t? But I think she’s also going to surprise a lot of people. She will fear neither consensus when possible nor ass-kicking when necessary. She will safeguard us from the damage a right-wing Supreme Court would inflict on the nation. She will stand for the rights of women, LGBT Americans, and minorities. She will maintain critical global relationships, and she will react to dangerous situations with the temperament of a seasoned and experienced professional. And in a nation that didn’t even allow women to vote until 1920, she will make history by shattering the very highest glass ceiling, and in doing so forever change the way a generation of young women view their place in our Republic.
She’s going to be a fine President.
I’m with her.
Now that the primaries are over I wanted to share some facts that might make a difference to some Americans. Everyone is being very negative about a lady who has accomplished some really good things. So these are just for you to add to what you are already thinking about before you vote in November.
Why am I taking you on a visual trip of America? Because I want you to remember all we have here. This is our America.
These pictures are symbols of what we vote for. We vote because we have the right to vote and have since the Founding Fathers. We have the duty to each other and to America to speak up and let government officials know how we feel. We must vote, or everyone that has died fighting for our country and way of life will have died in vain. Even if you are not happy with our present government and if you see racism and sexism and judgmentalism as black marks against us, go out and vote. Just go. Send your message, send your thoughts, send a message of what must change. Send a message that is representative of your voice. It is ELECTION DAY. Go to the polls and vote. It is not too much to ask.
Smokey Mountains Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013
To Majestic Mountains Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012
My flowers in glorious bloom. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012
To your own home Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 1013
To country roads Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013
To butterflies. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2007
To lakes Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2011
And oceans and islands Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012
Here we are at the end of September. Elections are coming up. There is time to vote early or to mark you calendar with the notation to vote. The Republicans have just unanimously voted against equal pay for equal work. Today, a mom earns $.69 less than a dad earns for each hour they work. Is there a Republican war on women? Absolutely there is.
Women and men getting out to vote is essential this year. We have had a “do nothing” Congress for a few years now. Women need to get out and speak up for themselves. We need to tell Congress to start doing their jobs. We need pay equality. We need to be legally equal. Why is it that so many males don’t want us to be legally equal? We are the only citizens who are not legally equal. It is time to demand what we don’t have.
Now, employers want to be able to deny us the ability to use birth control. If they don’t want you to take it they will not pay for it. Just how many people are you willing to let control your body. Why should some corporation tell us what to do with our bodies. Why should anyone know about intimate information about our lives. We are adults, we are of sound mind, we are capable of making good decisions about our bodies and our lives.
Don’t let our lives be controlled by the government, corporations, churches or temples or cathedrals.
Women need to take back control of the important things in their lives. Getting out and voting is the best way to let America know what you stand for. Show the government that you know what you want and you aren’t afraid to tell them. Get out and vote in November!
Sculptures of joyful women. Chautauqua New York. Photographed
On August 26, 1920, the 19thAmendment granting women the right to vote, became law.
“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. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
When American women were first trying to get the vote, men believed it was inappropriate for women to vote and provided a variety of “reasons”. In 1915, writer Alice Duer Miller countered the ridiculous arguments of anti-suffrage men with humor:
Why We Don’t Want Men to Vote
Because man’s place is in the army.
Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.
Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to them.
Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms, and drums.
Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them unfit for government.
The true ridiculousness of the fight is clear in the view of hindsight — during World War I, when able-bodied men were fighting in Europe, it was women who took their place in factories and kept this country moving, providing support and arms to our fighting men. Yet still, these brave, hard-working women could not vote. President Woodrow Wilson recognized the disparity, and in a speech on September 18, 1918, he said,
“We have made partners of the women in this war. Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of right?”
According to the website AmericanCivilWar.com, “the National American Woman Suffrage Association’s (NAWSA) Congressional Committee and the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU) worked together to try to get women in America the vote. In 1917, the CU formed the National Woman’s Party (NWP).
Photograph of Alison Turnbull Hopkins with banner, “Mr. President How long must women wait for liberty,” picketing for suffrage outside White House gate. Photograph published in The Suffragist, 5, no. 56 (Feb. 7, 1917): 4. Caption reads: “New Jersey Day: Mrs. J.A.H. Hopkins heading the line”. Photograph illustration in story “Fourth Week of the White House Guard.”
In January 1917 the CU and NWP began to picket the White House. The government’s initial tolerance gave way after the United States entered World War I. Beginning in June 1917, suffrage protesters were arrested, imprisoned, and often force-fed when they went on hunger strikes to protest being denied political prisoner status.
The National Woman’s Party militant tactics and steadfast lobbying, coupled with public support for imprisoned suffragists, forced President Woodrow Wilson to endorse a federal woman suffrage amendment in 1918. Congress passed the measure in 1919, and the NWP began campaigning for state ratification. Shortly after Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify women’s suffrage, the 19th Amendment was signed into law on August 26, 1920.”
I am bringing this up today not only to celebrate the 94th Anniversary of this wonderful Amendment, but also to make a point to every woman out there in the United States:
A mid-term election is coming up in November. I don’t know who you support in the election, or what party you are involved with, or if you have ever voted before, and it really doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is this:
A lot of women worked very hard for a long time to give you the right to vote this November.
You owe it to them, as well as to you, your generation, and the next generation to come, to exercise that right. Vote for your granddaughters and your great-granddaughters, and they will one day have what we have yet to win: True Equality.
99% of the American people working to hold up the World
When Bush first ran for President against Al Gore, I was deeply disappointed when he won. However, he won fair and square. The majority of the people spoke in his favor. We even had the controversy over Florida and “the hanging chads from ballots.” I will admit I was unhappy and a bit suspicious.
I am a pacifist and I will admit that I shunned vets after Vietnam. I’ve learned a lot since then. I was totally against the War in Iraq, but I understood that many of our boys and girls were choosing to fight in this war. So I gave them my prayers and support. I still wasn’t happy, but I accepted this second administration. I felt Bush was a “cowboy” and not the man I wanted to be President. Well, it was my opinion and my right to voice my views, rationally and logically. For eight years I did not let anger or conspiracies rule my thoughts and life.
Now, times have changed and Barak Obama has been elected by the majority and electoral vote of the American people. I must say that I am shocked by all of the hatred, anger, and illogical talk that is taking place. Twenty states talking succession. Really? So you are taking your toys home and never playing with us again. In an election, someone always loses. Sometimes it is Domecrats and sometimes Republicans.
Our Founding Fathers did not have the sort of rhetoric and extreme anger I have been hearing on the internet and in articles…let alone Social Media. I believe they would be disappointed that all they dreamed and fought for, American freedom would end up being trashed like this.
It is time for each citizen to look into their hearts and minds and look for the rational, loving, accepting human being that this country was designed for. Please put aside the angst and let us all work together to make this a country and world filled with the love and beauty that Divinity has had in mind.
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown.
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to the day-at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) wrote in long, loose lines. Whitman introduced to American poetry a democratic, all-encompassing vision and a freedom of style that liberated the form from its traditional constraints.
Whitman was a man of the people. He wasn’t rich and he wandered around our great country meeting the everyday man and woman. He found solace and inspiration in the lives of the 99%. They weren’t called that then, but these days we are. These days we have the 99% and the 1 %. Most of us are part of the 99% and we care about each other, whether we have met or not. We know they are our sisters and brothers. We don’t all look alike, We don’t all speak English well. We don’t all believe in the same issues. What we all are is Americans proud of our country and where we are going. On this election day, I Hear Americans Sing and they vote.
Gloria Steinam for Obama
Coretta Scott King speaks for President Obama
Vote for Hope
Ladies, our ancestors worked hard for us to have the vote. Please go out and stand in line and vote.
In America, every citizen has the right to vote. Citizens of other countries, cannot all say that. Don’t take the vote for granted.
Women, this is the opportunity to protect our lives and the lives of several generations of young women coming up behind us. There was a time, in the late 1990’s, we thought we had made our point. We had made a difference and we had worked and marched and pushed and made America a better place for women.
Well, having participated in that era of pushing for Women’s Rights, I feel so sad that we are back again;back at the place where women are demeaned, pushed to a side, ignored, and passed over. The conservatives feel a need to control us and to undermine our lives and the lives of women all over the world.
November 6 th, we have the “Ability to Move Beyond Words.” We have been working to speak our truth, speak up for the rights of women and children. We have been pushing back against those who have started the new “War on Women.” Well, it is time, ladies, to take off the gloves and to remember as we fight for ourselves, we are fighting for the young ones. Society will decompose unless we work hard to stop this war.
The truth is, as women we can’t ever stop fighting against those who have no respect for women. There are many men, and fundamental religions who feel women need-must be controlled and subjected. They have never loved a woman, and are intimidated by strong assertive women. We can’t let that stop us or future generations. We can’t ease off, become less diligent because we are strong, independent, capable women and we are important too.
So ladies, on November 6th, you need to vote like your life depends on it because It does. We are at a crossroads here in America. We have to preserve what we have gained and we have to ensure the future for other women. Your ballot is the key to freedom. Our ballots are the answer to the War on Women. We must win the fight for ourselves and for women all over the world who are being victimized even as I sit here at my computer typing my words to you.
America is coming up on one of our most important votes. Historically, voting; before the women received the vote, men made voting into an excuse to drink and have fist fights..There was chaos. It is amazing that we made it through these times. Voting was done in saloons and a man’s vote got him a free shot of whiskey.
There were problems with voter ID. Not because of the reasons we debate today, Police were stationed in the saloons to keep the peace. They often looked the other way, so guys could vote again and get another shot. Guns were toted for a man’s protection. Some may have even been needed. Don’t know. Election day was wild.
Today, emotions flare on all sides. We have evolved. Thanks to the Suffragettes, women now have the responsibility of voting too. We no longer vote in the saloons and the whiskey no longer flows like hot lava. Election day is a time for all citizens to speak up.
We must remember on election day to put our apathy aside. Citizens all over the world risk their lives to get to America to have the chance to become citizens and to vote to keep the freedoms we have here in America. They traveled here in ships and planes seeking what the original Pilgrims sought when they arrived in the 1600’s. They wanted freedom and a voice in creating and strengthening these freedoms for all Americans.
In November, remember voting is indeed a right, but it is also an important responsibility. If we are apathetic and don’t use our vote, we weaken our democracy. In every generation, there have been those who threw the hat in and gave up. They stopped voting. They stopped listening to issues. Both sides of the issues. If something happens later on they don’t like, often, they are the first to complain loudly and frequently. Perhaps if these people had voted, the results would be much different. At the very least, they would have had the opportunity to say, to vote for what they believed in.
My challenge to Americans in November is to go to the polls and vote. Tell our leaders what and whom you want to lead our government. Don’t get caught up in the discontent you feel. Use the discontent within to get yourself out of the house, vote before you go to work or on your way home. We are citizens of a great Democracy and we have a responsibility to work to keep it whole and continuing to grow as the world is growing.
It is important to remember that with all of the new technology, America and Americans need to show people what Democracy is and how it can and does improve lives. Go vote, be proud, no matter who wins, and I do have a favorite, but whoever wins the process will have worked again as it has every four years since the founding fathers wrote the Constitution.