If you ever were tempted to not vote, read this.
Remember how women gained the right to vote? The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards, wielding clubs and their warden's blessing, went on a rampage against the 33 helpless women wrongly convicted of "obstructing sidewalk traffic." They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. 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 slops--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.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because -- why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining? In 2000, over 40 million women didn't vote. Even if only 10% of them had gone to the polls, America would be a very different country right now. Spread the word... get more women to vote and Change the World! HBO has a new movie "Iron Jawed Angels." It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that we could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have our say. HBO will run the movie periodically before releasing it on video and DVD. It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized.
And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."
Please make it a point to see this movie, and share it with your girlfriends. It reminds us why we shouldn't take our right to vote for granted.