It’s too easy to take our right to vote for granted. Like many privileges, women’s suffrage wasn’t simply given to our grandmothers. The battle for the right to vote was a long, hard road –- one that is too often overlooked.
It was not until 1920 that women were given the right to vote.On November 5th, 1917 a group of suffragettes picketed the White House, carrying signs asking for the right to vote. These women were arrested and jailed, 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 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.”
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror,' when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragettes 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.
Woodrow Wilson and his cronies tried to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. The doctor refused. 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."
I have not seen it, but I've heard HBO made a movie called Iron Jawed Angels. It is a depiction of the battle these women waged so that we could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have our say.
It's so easy to vote today. You can do it from the privacy of your own home by having a ballot sent to you. And even if you haven't made those arrangements, and you must got to the polls, isn't it our duty to vote?
Go ahead. Do it. Vote. It's our right and our responsibility.