Sunday, October 31, 2010

I May Not Feel Like Voting...But I Will.

I’m happy Election Day is almost here. Not because I am looking forward to exercising my right to vote…but because I am tired of the mud-slinging and overall negativity that has completely overtaken my world. My mailbox is overflowing with junk mail that gets straight into the recycle bin. TV is unwatchable, and my email is full of political spam. The only thing presented is how terrible the “other” candidate is and there are very few solutions being offered.

Yes, it’s difficult to know who to vote for if all you go by is the ads. It makes me just want to say “why vote?” And in fact, I’ve heard many people around me say that they are so turned off by the political climate in our world today that they may not vote this year.

We can’t let that happen.

We take the right to vote so for granted in these United States. For women, especially,it is crucial to remember how valuable is our right to vote. It took until 1920 for women to attain that right, and other countries, like Russia, women got the vote before we did. When Woodrow Wilson took office, women protested in front of the White House asking for their right to vote and many were arrested for "obstructing traffic" and thrown in jail. During the infamous “night of terror” which began on November 15, 1917 guards at the Occoquan prison were given an order by the warden to teach a lesson to all the women that had been imprisoned there for picketing for their right to vote. More than 30 women were arrested during this time and for the many weeks of their incarceration the only food and water they had was infested with maggots. Dora Lewis was put into a dark cell and thrown up against an iron bed that knocked her out cold. Later affidavits mentioned that she had been, dragged, beaten, choked, kicked and swung around by her hair. Lucy Burns was handcuffed with her hands above her head, beaten by several guards and left for the night gasping for breath and almost bled to death. There are so many more stories of women who paid the price for simply “protesting” for their right to vote. For OUR right to vote.

It would take 3 more years for women to win the vote, but can you imagine the triumph these women felt? And can you imagine how they would feel today witnessing the apathy and lack of participation so many have for this hard-earned right? We should be grateful for ourselves and for our daughters and their daughters after them and honoring their fight by never missing the opportunity to vote.

If you believe everything in the news it seems there is nothing right going on in this country, but the fact that we have the right to express opinions (yes even the negative ones) campaign and protest and then vote in itself what is right and good in our country. Across the world in countries like Iran, the elections are a joke. People risk their lives to go to the polls, and once there, they often vote out of fear, because if the person they really want in doesn’t get elected, they are afraid of the repercussions of their vote. In our country, the only consequence we suffer are frustrations of unfilled campaign promises, or disappointments that our candidate didn’t get in, or if he or she did, that they are stifled by the process so that it takes forever to get something done.

But eventually, it can get done. There are good men and women running for office. There are Issues of importance that affect our communities that need our involvement. Whether it’s a school levy, a controversial issues we about a right to legalize pot, gay marriage, abortion or to raise or lower our taxes our vote can and does make a difference. Especially on the local level.

It takes a little effort, but we can do research on each candidate and issue on the ballot. Most candidates do have websites that outline their philosophy and position in most of the issues we are voting on. There are various newspapers and news organizations that present their “endorsements” and you can at least go and read their reasoning whether you agree on it or not. Political blogs can present varying points of view on an issue you may be struggling with.

The League of Women Voters sponsors valuable non-partisan websites to help educate you on the candidates and issues and you can type in your city and state to get to your local issues. Here’s a link to the National Website:

Here’s the link to the Akron Area.

Do the right thing. Vote.

*research on the suffrage movement from