Monday, November 5, 2012

The Vote of One Woman

Less than a hundred years ago, I would not have been able to vote for president. 

This fact may seem vague or hazy in many of our minds. There's often just one paragraph in the history books about women's suffrage. But I can't forget it.

Less than two hundred years ago in Texas, I would not have been allowed to have my own property if I was married. My clothes, my hairbrush, my books - all would be considered property of a husband. If I earned my own money, he would not have had to share it with me. It became his.

When I was four years old, I lived in a world where there had never been a female Supreme Court Justice.

Someday, I will live in a world where I'll be able to say: I remember the first woman president.

Until that day, I will strive to cast my vote for the candidate who best represents the hope for all of us to one day live in a society where justice is woven into the system and fabric of our society, just as injustice is today.

Because there was a time when I would not have been free, I refuse to deny freedom to others. For if those who had the privilege of voting and governing had not stood up for my rights, I would not have been able to cast my ballot and make my voice heard.

Harry Burn - a Republican from Tennessee -
believed he had a moral imperative
to extend the franchise to women. 
Tomorrow, votes will be cast all over this country. Most of us think: Which candidate will increase my prosperity? Who will be best for me?

I cannot think that way. I cannot, because Harry Burn said this when he cast the vote which led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment:  I appreciated the fact that an opportunity such as seldom comes to a mortal man to free 17 million women from political slavery was mine.

I voted for Barack Obama not because I think he is perfect, or even a particularly brilliant president, but because I believe that I have a moral imperative to increase the spread of justice throughout this country. I cannot, in good conscience, vote for anyone who would deny rights to gays, would appoint a Supreme Court justice who would deny women's right to choose, for anyone who would use the franchise as a weapon. Obama is not perfect, but our civil rights, and those of our fellow Americans, mean too much for me to vote any other way.

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