Exercise…your right to vote

PJ Sharon here, with a slight departure from writing about…well…writing. I will return to regularly scheduled  “writerly” postings next week.

It’s election Tuesday, and I’m proud to say, I voted! Many heartfelt thanks to the fabulous ladies in this picture (courtesy of Wikepedia) who are celebrating their right to vote, a fight that was finally won in 1919 after a centuries old battle.

When I was growing up during the seventies and eighties, my mother was very active in town politics. Even with seven children, she committed herself to making a difference and believed strongly in the power of women to sway the tide. She worked tirelessly on behalf of candidates she believed in and was instrumental in getting more than one State Representative elected with her grass roots efforts. Mom had the tenacity of a bulldog and the enthusiasm of a cheerleader. A well-loved and friendly woman, she had no trouble spreading the word by making phone calls and knocking on doors with her persuasive and sometimes vehement arguments on behalf of a particular candidate. I may not have thought so at the time, but today, I see my mom as the trailblazer and heroine that she was.

For the last five years or so of her life—which was taken all too soon at the age of fifty after a long battle with cancer—she worked as a bulletin clerk at the capitol in Hartford just so she could be close to the action and keep tabs on Connecticut’s political up-and -comers. I remember sitting around our kitchen table with my brothers and sisters stuffing envelopes and making signs. Being included in such important matters at an early age gave me a great appreciation for the political process, and I, like my mother, believe that women have a collective voice that has the power to change the world.

 I consider it both a privilege and a responsibility to exercise the rights that so many before me fought to win. Women, especially, took up the cause for the right to have a voice in a world dominated by men who held the power to make decisions for them without any consideration for how women felt or what they wanted. In response, the Women’s suffrage movement spanned nearly a century, and spread across the globe in the 1800’s and into early nineteen hundreds with many ups and downs before “the vote” was finally won in the US in June of 1919.
Through perseverance and suffering, enduring prison and torture, these early American heroines laid down their lives so that today, I could have a voice. With all of the crazy statements and misstatements that have been made in this campaign regarding women’s issues, I am saddened to think that as much as times have changed, some things remain the same. Once again, the rights of women hang in the balance. I hope you will all take some time to look beyond the rhetoric and examine the issues, make an informed decision, and get out and vote today.

What is your earliest memory of politics? Did you learn about it at home or in school?

 (NOTE: Specific political views or inflammatory comments are not appropriate in this venue and negative comments will be removed.  The above opinions are mine alone, and not necessarily those of the Secrets of Seven Scribes as a whole. Please be considerate.)

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14 thoughts on “Exercise…your right to vote”

  1. Awesome post PJ! I was very excited to read it this morning. Older son and I will be heading to the polls to vote this morning. I never miss an election, no matter how big or small. I consider it an honor and a privilege (especially as a woman) to have the choice to voice. Politics were always present in my home. Like you, it was from my mother. Of course, we had totally opposite views. The first time I was eligible to vote in a presidential election, I was going to school in Washington DC (where I did vote). Later, I was fortunate to attend a presidential inauguration. It was an amazing site – the peaceful transfer of power and the continuity of democracy.

    1. I also evolved to adopt very opposing political views as my parents, but then, times have changed, too. I think maybe my mom would have grown to embrace different ideas if she had lived beyond 1980.

      I remember taking my boys for their first vote…very exciting time! I can only imagine how awe-inspiring it must have been to witness an inauguration ceremony. How lucky we are that we can enjoy such a precious gift as “the peaceful transfer of power and the continuity of democracy.” That, indeed, is what it’s all about.

  2. Thank you for bringing up this topic. No matter where we stand on issues, we all need to voice our views by voting.
    It’s a privilege and a hard won right.
    Please, use it.

    Great and timely post.

  3. What lovely memories of your mom, PJ! It’s hard to believe that women have only had the right to vote less than a hundred years, isn’t it? My great-grandmother, Gladys, was born in 1899 (and lived to the ripe old age of 102 with a clear mind up to the very end). She was among the first generation of women able to vote in this country. One of the things I’ve often wished I had asked her while she was still with us was about her experiences as a young woman, when so many opportunities for women were opening up. Yet I wonder if these changes affected her much — by 1919 she was already married and had a baby, and she worked a farm in a remote area of the country. She was certainly no flapper in the roaring twenties!

    1. What a gem she must have been, Suze. My grandfather lived to be ninety and he had some amazing stories. He was a little boy during the blizzard of 1885, living in upstate New York. He said he remembered sliding down a snowbank that was up to the second story of their house. Maybe an exaggeration, but so entertaining to imagine. Although your gran was no flapper, I bet she had bunches of tales about the wild happenings of her day. It’s a shame we lose those stories. One more reason to be a writer!

  4. My mother was the one who taught me to care about politics, too. She was passionate about it, and famous in our town because she would get so caught up in debates that tears would come to her eyes. One of my first memories is marching for civil rights with her. On our last outing together, at the end of her life, we went to a presidential library and she reflected on all the changes she’d seen. I vote for her, and all the courageous women before her who believed passionately in their ability to change the world.

    1. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story with us, Huntley. We are lucky to have had our moms to guide our way and to teach us to appreciate what’s important.

  5. Well, if you ever get a hankering for stuffing political envelopes let me know. ;) That job never ends for me.

    I didn’t grow up in a political household. Education and how our society works wasn’t high on the list. It wasn’t until my 11th grade US history class that my eyes were opened.

    My life now revolves around politics. Having a politician for a husband will do that. But I will say, whenever I do my research on a candidate, I don’t just look at their voting history and who they have endorsed in the past. (Although, those are extremely important things to know before casting your vote) I look at their family, especially the wife. Is there a mutual respect? Faithfulness? Is their order in their household? Values upheld? Things to that effect. If their household is in chaos, how are they qualified to run a country?

    I also know firsthand that a politician is not running alone. Women may not always be the candidate, but they are the support system, and are responsible for so much work behind the scenes.

    1. So true, Katy. The saying, “behind every good man is a woman,” comes to mind. My envelope stuffing days are over, but I’m always happy to spread the word about a worthy candidate. Good luck to you and your hubby!

  6. Your post was wonderful. Our right to vote was fought for long and hard. Because of my affiliation with Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum and my historical romance, I am submersed in the era. One of the survivors of the Titanic Helen Churchill Candee was a one of those who fought for the right to vote. I recently met her great granddaughter who came here from England to Lockwood where we honored her great grandmother this past April.

    The storm ended up reeking some havoc here in Fairfield, and we had no communication from Wednesday to Sunday night. So, I did not get a blog up on Thursday. I have not been feeling well, and today the sore throat and drippy nose arrived, and so tired. I can imagine how those folks feel who have suffered the ails of storm sandy, when mine are so insignificant. However, I did vote on an absentee ballot.

    1. Sorry you’re not feeling well, Gail. I look forward to your next blog. I knew you would have some interesting tid-bit about this post today. I know what a history buff you are! Thanks for stopping by.

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