November 11, 2015

What If We Hadn't Won the Right to Vote??!

by Ann Lewis, November 11, 2015

Watched any Presidential candidate debates lately? You probably have.

For anyone who cares about America’s future, these debates, the conversations they inspire –and yes, even the cable television arguments they set off – offer fascinating guides to November, 2016.

And as this year goes on, we’ll be hearing more information about even more candidates, because the 2016 elections will determine the balance in the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and state and local offices coast to coast.

But what if watching was all we could do? What if women hadn’t won the fight for the vote?

After all, women were legally barred from voting for more than half our country’s lifetime. When the United States proudly celebrated our first centennial in 1876, women were not just excluded from voting –they weren’t even welcome on the speaker’s platform! Susan B. Anthony and a small, determined group made their way to the stage that day, distributing suffrage literature as they went –the only recognition that women too took part in building our country.

ALMS-1876-01-1 Declaration of Rights July 4 1876.jpg

What if those courageous suffrage pioneers had gotten discouraged after the 200th referendum, or the 100th arrest, or the 1000th insult? If they had decided politics was too much trouble, so they just gave up? What would our lives be like now?

Would we still be watching presidential debates and discussing electoral choices –but unable to act on them? Imagine knowing that this coming election could make a huge difference in our lives, and our children’s future – but you had to watch from the sidelines, unable to make a difference.

Postcard : Why not let mother vote? [Circa 1910-1915]

Think of the last picture you saw of the United States Senate, and how you looked for the women: 20 women out of one hundred. . What if there were no women at all? Women candidates may still face a higher threshold, but they bring our life experience into their campaigns, and into national policy.

More presidential debates coming up? Hurray! Pull up a comfortable chair, pass the popcorn --and give a silent thank you to the women and men who fought long and hard to make sure our votes will count!