OK, in light of where we are at in this country right now, let me dispense with the niceties. If you are a woman in 2016 America, there are forces at work in this country, personified and emboldened by the Republican nominee for President, who want to quell you,take away your reproductive rights and tell you that your opinions about the issues facing this nation of ours don’t matter. In terms of the coming Presidential election, these forces hope that you feel too busy, too disaffected, too discouraged or too disgusted to be bothered with the most sacred of democratic rituals – voting.
When thinking about writing this post, I had to remind myself that not everybody is like me and enjoys or revels in talking politics. I also had to remind myself that I didn’t want this post to be one in which I, as a male, harangue and cajole my female readers with platitudes of how important the electoral process is, how every vote counts or how voting should be something that every American citizen takes seriously as a matter of course.
No, what I decided to do with this post was something much simpler – I am just going to ask a simple question of you, my dear female readers, and it is this:
Are you as a citizen, armed and ready to vote?
By that I mean are you:
b) do you know the location of your polling place and/or where to mail your absentee ballot if you are voting absentee
c) do you have a strategy mapped out concerning the time you are actually going to vote or fill out your ballot?
There is still time to answer these questions in the positive if you can’t right now, but be aware as you are reading this, that there are less than 50 days left before the election and in some states, even much less time to register or request an absentee ballot.
A good site to visit, if you still have any questions about any of this, is the US government’s website concerning voting. While the act of voting is in and of itself a political act, not voting is one as well.
What each individual citizen has to decide on Election Day is which kind of political statement they are going to make, either one based in proactivity and making one’s voice heard or one based in apathy in which your voice remains silent.
If it sounds like I am taking all of this very personal, its because I am.
As I have mentioned before in this forum, when both of my grandmothers were born, they were born without the right to vote. My paternal grandmother was 27 and married and my maternal grandmother was 21 and married, respectively, when the 19th amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for all American women was ratified on August 18, 1920. It is still unconscionable for to me to think that less than 100 years ago, in this glorious country we all live in and call home, that approximately 50 % of her population was barred from participating in the electoral process.
Famed suffragist and woman’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton once said:
“The best protection any woman can have… is courage “
I believe those words are as true today as they were when Stanton wrote them in the 19th century. I say this because, in the face of the misogyny and sexism so prevalent in our society, I believe that women in this country commit seemingly small and selfless acts of courage every single day in their daily lives. They display this courage in their homes, schools, and workplaces navigating these relationships with little or no fanfare.
These acts of valor are necessary not only for their survival but for the survival of their families and by logical extension, our nation as well.
It is my faithful hope that come November 8th, 2016, millions of American women will collectively commit yet another seemingly tiny act of gallantry and exercise the right denied to their American female forerunners and as a result, regulate a certain orange, plastic wannabe Julius Caesar to the dustbins of our nation’s political history.