Susan B. Anthony: Suffrage and Equality, and How Far We Still Need To Go

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​One hundred ninety-nine years ago today, Susan B. Anthony was born into a Quaker family in Adams, Massachusetts. Her activism began early at her family’s hearth as the entire clan was involved in the anti-slavery movement as well as temperance movements all throughout their lives.

Her birth year of 1820 was coincidentally one hundred years before the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was ratified.

In 1868, she, and her longtime close friend and women’s rights collaborator Elizabeth Cady Stanton published a weekly newspaper called The Revolution, focusing on women’s rights and calling for women’s suffrage as well as highlighting other opinion and discussion pieces in relation to suffrage as well as politics and finance. It’s motto was: “Men, their rights and nothing more: women, their rights and nothing less.”

I think we’re seeing a resurgence of this attitude if not the outright message. Coming to a head in 2017 with the #metoo movement, women are finding their voices and speaking out when they feel ignored or condescended to, which happens in all walks of personal and professional life.

When the 15th Amendment was proposed and ratified (giving former male slaves the right to vote), Anthony was firmly against it, feeling that African Americans and women should receive voting rights simultaneously rather than continue to give men, regardless of race more rights than women.

In 1872, she brought her Declaration of Rights for Women to the nation’s centennial in Philadelphia, wanting to share it at the official celebrations. Permission was denied, but Susan B. Anthony, leading a group of five women interrupted the speaker and handed the Declaration to the him. Leaving, she handed out copies to the crowd, and then found a public space nearby and read it to the crowd that had formed around her.

1872 was also the year in which Susan B. Anthony cast her vote. In doing so, she was arrested and brought to trial. Prior to the trial, she went around the county doing speaking engagements. Her speech was titled, “Is it a crime for a US citizen to vote?” At her trial, she was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine. She refused. Instead of the judge holding her in contempt, he declined any further action, and the fine has never been paid.

‘Failure is impossible’ quickly became the watchword for the women’s movement” according to her Wikipedia article. Those three words were taken from comments made by Susan B. Anthony at her eighty-sixth birthday celebration a few weeks before her death:

“There have been others also just as true and devoted to the cause — I wish I could name every one — but with such women consecrating their lives, failure is impossible!”

She and Stanton were the first to lead the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the organization’s name was changed to the League of Women Voters, still a formidable voice for voting rights.

In addition to her house in Rochester, NY named as an historic landmark and her gravesite visited on many Election Days, most especially in 2016 when Democrat Hillary Clinton ran as the first woman nominated by a major party, she was also commemorated on a US postal stamp in 1936 and is the first woman to have her likeness on a US coin when her image was depicted on the dollar coin, first minted and released in 1979.

Commemorative Stamp 1936, US Postal Service. Public Domain. (c)2019

Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin, 1979. Public Domain. (c)2019

In reading the title of her speech: Is it a crime for a US citizen to vote? it made me realize that as far as we’ve come, we still haven’t come all that far. We saw in 2016, an amount of voter suppression that many didn’t recognize in prior years. Some of it was so obvious as to be racist and sexist that it boggles my mind that it was allowed by officials and ignored by the media. The questions asked of Secretary Clinton, and the ridiculously higher expectations and almost impossible to meet standards expected of her in relation to her male opponents was embarrassing. 

Even more embarrassing is the way the media is currently treating the four women candidates for the Democratic nomination. I hear about Sherrod Brown’s ties to working class families, and reflection on Joe Biden’s status as elder statesman, and they haven’t even decided if they are running for 2020. However, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobucher are being lambasted for listening to rap music, eating fried chicken, mocked for family lore, and treatment of her subordinates instead of where they stand on the issues. Is the idea that Amy Klobucher expects her staff to live up to her expectations more problematic than a President who lies constantly about everything, even the insignificant? Bill Clinton played the saxophone on television, Mitt Romney has a car elevator in one of his houses, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is in jail for sexual misconduct, but no, let’s find out if Amy raises her voice trying to get things done. Journalism is in a tailspin, and I thought we were, if not past this sexism then at least pretending to be fair in public.

Also standing out significantly is the Georgia governor’s race in 2018, the Voter ID laws that disproportionately affected the Native American population in North Dakota, also in 2018, closing polling places, shortening voting times, which thereby increased lines and eliminated the working class who can’t afford to leave work early or go in late. Deciding that polling places didn’t meet accessibility requirements for the general election even though there were no problems during the primaries, and those polling places that didn’t meet the requirements were in primarily African-American districts (in Georgia, where the Secretary of State who is in charge of those things was also running for governor. He won. Big surprise there.) There is still a congressional seat in North Carolina that has not been certified because of blatant fraud.

So, how do we combat this?

Should Election Day be a national holiday so more people can vote without losing time and money from work? Why do certain segments of political partisanship want less people to vote, not more despite their being eligible and wanting to vote?

Should we have a standard set of questions to address to each office-seeker when they’re being introduced as a presidential candidate?

Why do we continue to allow the Senate Majority Leader to lie about what the American people want (as shown in poll after poll), and allow him to not bring bills to the floor that have passed the House?

Why do we allow the White House and the President’s enablers in Congress to block investigations into the Russian interference in the 2016 and 2018 elections? I would hope that no one wants a foreign power controlling our votes and who is elected to our national offices, but it seems that some of those politicians blocking access and investigatory avenues are dominated by their monetary reliance on that same foreign power. This is wrong. When will they come to their senses? When will their patriotism extend to real American sovereignty and equal rights instead of their false flag patriotism?

How do we also encourage voting participation?

Why do some from one side think it should be harder to vote, whether because of economics or transportation or accessibility?

This needs to be addressed before the 2020 election. 2020 will celebrate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. We should come together for a comprehensive overhaul of the registration and voting process to make it accessible to all eligible voters. If we wait much longer, we won’t have anything worth voting for.

Trump Used Her Slain Daughter to Rail Against illegal immigration. She Chose a Different Path.

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We all have choices that we make on a daily basis on what kind of life and world we are leaving for our children. One of my intentions this year is to be conscious of what I take in and share.

This is more than a feel good story.

Mainly, because there is nothing about any of this that feels good. A woman has lost her daughter. A boy has lost his parents (in a different way). And our country has lost its way.

I can only  hope that it’s not too late for any of us.

Link to article

George Herbert Walker Bush (1924 – 2018)

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​Not sure if this is going to be longer later, but – I’m sad that George Bush 41 passed away. I’ve been listening to both the hagiographies and the realistic assessments of his presidency and public service career. Whatever else he was, he was a kind and decent person who cared about and loved his family and his country deeply. He had faith and beliefs that he kept in his heart throughout his life. He had a good sense of humor, and he made it okay for us to not like broccoli.

He signed the Americans with Disabillities Act and when he was asked to intervene in pushing back the Iraqi regime out from their invasion of Kuwait, he acted. He forrmed a multi-national coalition including Middle Eastern/Muslim countries, and when their objective was done (Hussein going back to Baghdad), he didn’t push an imperialistic doctrine.

He saw, and contributed, to the peaceful end of the Cold War after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, including the reunification of Germany, which is likely one reason that Chancellor Merkel came to pay her respects.

I didn’t vote for him, but I worked for him…kind of. I was a civilian in the Navy’s child development program. In addition to our regular group of military children under five, we were also joined by a couple of displaced kids when their parents were called up and their reserve units were activated during the Gulf War. Oddly, I was less politically active and vocal during Bush’s Presidency than just prior when I was in college and studying political science.

When he pledged not to raise taxes, then got into office, and saw the reality of the economy, he took a leap (and it probably cost him a second term), and for the good of the country, he raised taxes. For the good of the country.

He also closed military bases, which included my being laid off.

At 17, after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted, volunteering for the Navy and was the youngest aviator. He was shot down over the Pacific. He then went to college, and over the span of decades was Congressman, ambasasador, director of the CIA, Vice President and President of the United States. A lifetime of service. A good man.

He should be admired.

This eulogized more than I had originally intended.

The point I wanted to make is that if you’re waiting for someone who is unproblematic in order to eulogize them and offer condolences and respects upon their death after a lifetime of service, you may as well stop now. There is no such person. There will never be any such person. Even Saint Mother Theresa didn’t always believe in G-d, and she’s a saint. The point being that take a forward glance towards the future of state funerals and name the one, unproblematic one that we’re allowed to feel bad for, to admire, to want to emulate aspects of. They are all problematic to someone.

That doesn’t dismiss the valid feelings they invoke, but it may need some additional perspective. 

George HW Bush was a decent man, with morals and he attempted to be better, not better than anyone or any of us or anyone around him, but just better.

And in this world of Wisconsin Republicans overthrowing the duly elected incoming state government (is this the tyranny the NRA has warned us about? But that’s another discussion, isn’t it?), we could all use a little bit more decent.

Giving Tuesday

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In this time of holiday joy and generosity, please do what you can to support those organizations who help throughout the year.

ACLU

Planned Parenthood

RAICES

Random Acts

Where I Give My Support (list not inclusive)

Scroll down to the Stands links for a collection of worthy charities, all of whom do good works.

Add your own recommendations in the comments with how to reach them with donations and what their organization does. 

Election Reflection – Split Decision? Or Blue Wave?

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​Last Tuesday, I had planned on spending the day watching twenty-four hour cable news. The idea of doing that filled me with dread. I began to have minor flashbacks of the same day two years before when I ignored most of the day’s goings-on since I knew the outcome. I, and  many of the country (about sixty-three million of us) were wrong. It was devastating, and the more I thought about seven days ago, the more I realized that I did not want to sit at home, waiting for results that would not come until late in the evening.

I decided to vote early and go to my local religious retreat house for a day of reflection centered on Thanksgiving. It was exactly what I needed, and it helped me through the rest of the evening and into the week that followed. Sometimes stepping back is exactly what’s needed in those stressful circumstances that this Election Day was going to be.

One week later, and there are still some outstanding races. As I write this, Arizona’s Senate race has just been declared: Kyrsten Sinema (D) has won the seat previously held by Jeff Flake. She will be the first woman Senator to represent Arizona. That was worth waiting for.

The main question Republicans and pundits (but not that many Democrats) are asking is whether this was really a blue wave rather than a puddle or a correction or a split decision, and I can tell you from my personal research (unscientific) on Facebook and Twitter, while we went to sleep just a week ago on Tuesday night only slightly less queasy than at the same time in 2016, waking up and continuing on during this past week of continuing counting of votes, rescinded concessions, no concessions in the case of Arizona and Georgia, and the huge increase in Congressional diversity, I can safely say that BLUE WAVE it is!

It is a complete repudiation of the Trump Administration and its policies that favor his laziness, bigotry and cronyism and nepotism. We said strongly that Mueller and his investigation must be protected and with Democrats on oversight, he will be.

For starters, some of my (least) favorite people have been defeated, including Scott Walker (WI), Kris Kobach (KS), Dean Heller (NV), John Faso (NY), Dana Rohrbacher (CA), Pete Sessions (TX), and the counting still continues in Georgia (governor) and Florida (governor and senator).

One hundred seventeen women!

The first (2) Muslim women.

The first (2) Native American women.

The first black woman from Massachusetts.

Openly gay governor for Colorado.

First woman Senator from Arizona, who is also bisexual.

Youngest woman elected to Congress from New York.

Lucy McBath won her seat in Georgia. She is one of the Moms Demand gun sense candidates, and part of a wave that added gun sense to the roles of Congress while defeating twenty-one NRA backed and A-rated candidates.

In Houston, ALL 19 black women who ran for judicial seats won!

In state legislatures across the country, 350 seats flipped as well as six state legislatures.

In North Carolina, the Republicans no longer have a supermajority, which lets the Democratically Elected Governor do his job.

Amendment 4 in Florida re-enfranchised millions of voters.

Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska all voted to expand medicaid.

Arkansas and Missouri voted to raise the minimum wage and Missouri passed a pro union ballot measure.

Teacher protests across the country happened in conservative states and helped move things forward; things are changing across the country.

The big question from Crooked Media’s Lovett or Leave It is how do we get Democratic politicians to be as popular as Democratic policies? Across the country progressive policy is popular, but for some reason conservatives continue to vote against their own interests.

In Red State Texas, Beto O’Rourke came within three points of beating incumbent Ted Cruz. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who Beto O’Rourke is, find is farewell email to his supporters; it highlights his character and beliefs.

In Georgia where the current Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who is running the election for the state as well as running for Governor in the election he’s overseeing is defending his voter suppression in court while his challenger, Stacey Abrams is within one point of winning and they’re still counting.

In Florida, they haven’t finished counting the original election totals, and are still waiting for overseas military ballots to come in. When the original count is finished, Gillum and Nelson will qualify for a machine and a hand recount, respectively.

The biggest takeaway is flipping the House.

The Democrats now have oversight power, and can perform a check on the Executive branch of government despite the Republicans relinquishing their duty for the last two years. There will now be accountability so the White House, the President, and his Cabinet can’t go further into their already documented corruption and circumventing the rule of law.

This was one of the biggest turnouts in a midterm in history, and if we can keep the momentum going through the next Presidential election, we can right some of the wrongs of the past two years. If nothing else, it will be a reminder that the President is not a King; he answers to us, the people, and we will now hold his feet to the fire, and ensure that he does his job, not just for his small base, but for all Americans, no matter their party or their income level.

We can change the gerrymandering laws to make them more fair to everyone (including Republicans); we can reverse some of the unfair ID laws like the ones in North Dakota and Georgia and Indiana. We can pass bills for automatic voter registration so all eligible voters are able to vote in the next election.

As we’ve seen by this very Blue Wave, we can take back our country.

When we vote, we win.

What Was This Week?

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It’s been next to impossible to write about politics this week. I started to, a number of times, but they all ended with me tearing my hair out, and screaming into the void.

I began the day before Election Day in a flurry of anxiety and excitement for Tuesday, and then the Blue Wave hit. I started keeping tabs on races, and began an excited post that I planned on posting sometime late on Wednesday.

Then the President had his news conference, and he was quite nasty to some journalists, including Yamiche Alcindor, Jim Acosta, and Peter Alexander, not to mention April Ryan.

Then Jim Acosta had his credentials revoked.

Jeff Sessions, Matt Whittaker, Robert Mueller, Tucker Carlson’s lunacy, which I’ve just discovered doesn’t match up to the police report, but wait, there’s more.

Then the President attacked journalist, Abby Phillips.

Then he backed out of the Veteran’s Day visit to the American Cemetery in France during the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the end of World War I.

Then he was two hours late to dinner with the other leaders.

I’ve been offline for most of today, and I have to say it’s been a blessing.

I need to catch up, but I think I’m waiting for tomorrow’s podcasts to catch me up. I especially like MSNBC’s Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace.

So, what I’ve decided to do is to write a short piece on my feelings on Jim Acosta’s credentials, a slightly longer one for Tuesday, the one week anniversary of the Blue Wave about the Blue Wave, and completely ignore the disgrace of the man in the White House as he manages to embarrass this country once again with his petty, selfish, unAmerican conduct.

In his place, many others have stepped into the open space, and added their messages of honor to the veterans, all of them, but especially those we remember from one hundred years ago as they defeated the enemy, and brought the world together in peace.

I’ll leave you with these words from Laurence Binyon‘s poem, For the Fallen, published 21 Sept 1914:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

TODAY IS THE DAY! VOTE!

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On Instagram, I’ve spent every day posting a political pin, and today is the final one. Scroll through and see what I chose to share in the last days towards this Election Day. When you’re finished looking and thinking about and commenting, head over to your polling place and VOTE. This is the most consequential and important election of our lifetimes. I just heard Dan Pfeiffer say on The Axe Files that young people felt secure and comfortable under President Obama, they thought they were safe and things were going to be okay – the President has this. Well, I’m 51, and I felt the same way. I was comfortable not paying attention to the minutiae of politics and political discourse for the first time in my life, and now I’m terrified. For my children, yes, but for myself as well. What have we allowed to happen in the last two years?!

VOTE

I Will Vote 11.6.18 from Penzeys Spices. (c)2018

From Star Wars: A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance. In honor of Carrie Fisher.(c)2018

The Liberty Bell. Philadelphia, PA. Remember our history. (c)2018

Equality Includes Everyone. Everyone Equals Everyone. (c)2018

Nevertheless, She Persisted. In honor of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Shethority, Me Too, Times Up. (c)2018

3 pins from Penzeys Spices. Kind heart, Soul (of America), Embrace Hope. (c)2018

A riff on Cyndi Lauper’s hit song, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. (c)2018

Created Equal pin that my son picked up for me on his school trip to Gettysburg. He knows me. (c)2018

NoRA, March for Our Lives. (c)2018

I couldn’t get a pussy hat, so I got a pink pussy cat pin instead. (c)2018

The truth. (c)2018

Looking back on someone who was thought to be a not so good president, but he really wasn’t that bad. He got a bad wrap. The current president won’t have that benefit – he’s the worst. But…Ulysses S. Grant won the Civil War, and wasn’t a bad president, and was actually a good person. Read Ron Chernow’s biography. (c)2018

Science Matters. (c)2018

Be Peace from the Dominican Sisters of Peace. (c)2018

Children First. Education by Educators.(c)2018

Facts Matter. From the Newseum in Washington, DC.(c)2018

Votes for Women. A gift from my friend from the Molly Brown House and Museum in Denver, CO. Suffragettes – votes for women and voting for women. (c)2018

LGBT+ Equality. (c)2018

I can’t even. I don’t remember what the news of the day was that made me post this, but it was probably awful and immigration or free press related. (c)2018

Education by Educators. Odyssey of the Mind in NY. (c)2018

Embrace Hope from Penzeys Spices. Always a good message. (c)2018

So simple, and yet so much meaning. Women’s rights, women’s equality, reproductive rights, ERA. Women’s rights are human rights. (c)2018

I VOTED! Now you. (c)2018