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Why women should vote in November...

October 14, 2008 - Jennifer Brookens
Last week, I went to Chick Flick night at the Fairmont Film Society with my mother. The selection for the month was the HBO movie 'Iron Jawed Angels,' which features an all-star cast such as Hillary Swank and Anjelica Huston. The movie is a graphic depiction of the Women's Suffrage Movement that occurred only 90 years ago. Women did not have the right to vote nationwide until 1920.

I wonder what would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now. Some of us even joke about voting for "none of the above" or doing a write-in for a cartoon character or the neighbor's dog. But the right to vote became valuable to to me after seeing this movie.

HBO released "Iron-Jawed Angels" on video and DVD. I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul (played by Swank) insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. 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.' (remember, this was only 90 years ago!!!)

The history of sufferage in the U.S. that I was taught was much more gentrified. I looked at my right to vote as a duty more than anything else. But in light of this, it's very much a privilege! Sadly, I know there are many women out there who won't vote this year because... why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter anyway? It's raining? But I honestly hope that my fellow sisters, mothers and daughters reading this will at least think twice about getting out and using this right that was fought so hard for by these courageous women. Whether you vote Democratic, Republican or Independent party - make your voice heard, and vote.

(For a more precise history lesson, check out the "Iron-Jawed Angels" movie, or check out the links I provided.)


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