It wasn’t always a freedom for women, however. It wasn’t until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. This is the story of our mothers and grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.
These women realized that they would have to fight for their right to vote. So they participated in peaceful demonstrations and one of them was picketing the White House carrying signs asking for the vote. Though defenseless, they were arrested and by the end of the night, they were traumatized.
Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic”. One of the women, Lucy Burns, was beaten and her hands were chained to the cell bars above her head and left hanging all night. Another woman, Dora Lewis, was thrown into a dark cell and smashed her head against an iron bed. 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.
If these women cared this much to be able to vote, shouldn’t we think it important also?
- 1. Vote whether you want to or not. I am writing this on Election Day. I had a dentist appointment along with an upset stomach. On top of that, it has been pouring rain all day! I remember saying to myself, “I do not want to drive out of my way to vote in this cold, messy day.”
2. Remember the sacrifices men have made in the wars our country have fought and the women who wanted to have a voice to make this country better. And remember to pray for those now serving our country.
3. Take your children with you whenever you can so they can be taught how important this great freedom is. I remember standing in line with my mom for hours while she waited to vote for our president. I have never forgotten that memory.
“First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4
One reason we are to vote and then to pray for our elected officials is because we want a country that is orderly and peaceful with men of character enforcing our laws.
Impatience is one emotion that seems to be increasing in our fast-paced society. And it seems to be a major emotion in those of us who are constantly on the go. I have found that the busier I am, the less patient I am, which isn’t a good thing! If you find that you are too busy to vote a few times a year, to make dinner for your family or to do something for someone else, then you are too busy. And especially if you find yourself snapping at loved ones or complaining about trivial things. Patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and it needs to be part of who we are.
“Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brethren, against one another.” James 5:7-9
Living a fast-paced life or as some would say a “Type A” life can become addicting almost as much as with nicotine, alcohol or drugs. But did you know that sugar can also be addicting? Recent research shows that food cravings really can mimic addiction. When scientists gave two groups of women – one obese, the other not – a 300-calorie portion of their favorite high-cal snacks (things like Oreos and M&M’s) every day for two weeks, the lower-weight women lost interest in the treat. But the obese women had the opposite reaction; although they reported a significant decrease in actually liking the snack food, they wanted more of it. Like drug addiction, compulsive eating may be a response that requires the fanatic to seek more food for the same effect. For dieters, the message may be that going “cold turkey” on the foods you crave is a better strategy than trying to budget those calories.
Helena Hill Weed, of Norwalk, Connecticut, served a 3 day sentence in a D.C. prison for carrying a banner that said:
“Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Every time we vote we are making history!