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August 28, 2020 – The 10th Blog in the RestorationAge
Wednesday August 26, 2020 marked the centennial of the complete ratification and taking effect of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote. Let me “amend” that. Women were not given the right to vote, they fought for over 100 years to win the vote at the national level.
I could spout history at you about the movement, important dates and players, but in the true form of a beer-infused post, I think it more prudent to pluck arguably the most prominent of the suffrage figureheads, Susan B. Anthony, and plop her smack dab in the middle of 2020.
Who was ole Suzy? Well, she was a formidable woman of her time. Born one of seven children to a Quaker dad and a Methodist mom; the family were all abolitionists and temperance advocates. Her dad believed in raising ALL of his children to be self-supporting. Susan was involved in social reform from her teen years; collecting petitions in the anti-slavery movement, often hosting Frederick Douglass in the family home before becoming part of the underground railroad herself, working with Harriet Tubman.
She spent nearly her entire life fighting for equal rights for African-Americans, for women’s marriage rights (temperance) and for women’s right to vote (suffrage). She literally moved and lived wherever her writing compatriot Elizabeth Cady Stanton landed with her family so that they could work endlessly on issues. It’s said that Susan remained unmarried in order to be able to freely organize the movements she and Stanton championed, often signing contracts and agreements that the married women of the movements weren’t allowed to because of marriage laws.
While Susan was a prolific speaker and often funded her movements with the money earned doing so, she reveled in hearing the opinions of all women. She and Stanton created the newspaper “The Revolution” for the sole purpose of giving woman a place to have their voices heard.
Imagine this larger than life figure showing up in 2020. On my second beer, I’m picturing that she rings my doorbell and wants to come in. Her time machine has just dropped her in downtown Louisville where she has learned from protestors of the death of Breonna Taylor, gunned down by police in bed in her own apartment. She’s upset about what she has learned about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Jacob Blake and so many others and needs to sit down. I offer her a beer and she accepts.
I take her out to the back deck and we sit. She’s hot in her big formal 1870s dress, but convinces me she used to it. She wants to know who the President is to let these merciless shootings happen. I tell her to drink quickly. Let’s see…the President is a business man who has declared bankruptcy for his companies six times. I have to explain what being a television personality is before I show her some clips from his “this is how I talk to women” highlight reel. After that she isn’t surprised when I tell her that he definitely wouldn’t consider hot because he owns the Miss Universe pageant and he knows hot. She agrees that he would more than likely never “move on her” or even give a thought to grabbing her by the pussy. I agree, yeah, you’re definitely a Nasty Woman, Susan, cause you tell it how it is.
She takes the last swig of her beer and asks if I have anything stronger. I’m happy to offer her some bourbon, straight up, neat, no ice, because she doesn’t know what it is. The first drink goes down fast and she tells me to just leave the bottle on the table. She pours her own second drink and looks out into the trees in the backyard. I’m reading something on this new computer contraption and she wonders what it is that is giving me such a pained face. I show her a story posted on my friend Marcia’s Facebook page about Abby Johnson, a speaker at the recent Republican National Convention, who has tweeted that she would support bringing back household voting and that in a Godly household, the husband would get the final say. I seriously think Susan is going to have a heart-attack in my backyard at this point.
But she doesn’t. I watch her and I see the wheels turning. She looks at me seriously and wants to know if women are allowed to vote in every state. Uh, duh Susan, since 1920. Oh, that’s right, she died in 1906, only four states allowed women to vote at that time. And, I tell her that women outnumber men in all but nine states. BINGO! It’s a no brainer, women just vote this man out of office she tells me. I tell her to pour another.
I gently explain that regardless of her life’s work and of those that came after her, not every woman votes. Confusion is an understatement. She and her sisters fought so hard for us, why wouldn’t we exercise that right that she never had? I tell her I honestly don’t know. She gets quiet again and is working it out, I can tell. After a few minutes and my third beer, she looks at me squarely and asks if I’m ready to do what’s needed to follow through on the things that she fought so hard for. She wants to know if I’m ready to take a stand and be heard. She want to know if I’m going to let people know how important their vote is. I scream “Hell yeah!!”
“Good.” she says as she stands and smoothes out her dress. She starts to walk away and I want to know where she’s going. “Back to the time machine. I’ve already fought this fight. It’s your turn. Don’t let me down.” She walks down the walk toward the gate and turns around. “By the way, your gate is amazing.” she says. “I know.” I say and wave goodbye. The gate closes and she is gone.
That nasty woman. I want to be just like her. Badass.
“We shall someday be heeded, and when we shall have our amendment to the Constitution of the United States, everybody will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people think that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.” – Susan B. Anthony, 1894