Every Vote Matters–No Excuses

Every Vote Matters–No Excuses

Tuesday is election day. As Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman can attest, it’s easy to make excuses not to vote. Maybe she felt like one person’s vote couldn’t possibly make a difference.

With an election this close, and with choice on the line, the truth is every vote matters. When you cast your ballot, you are honoring all the Americans who fought, suffered, and died to make this country a true democracy–from the Founding Fathers, to the Suffragettes, to the Civil Rights movement.

Pundits say that the 2010 elections will mark the year of the woman voter. In 2008, a woman nearly became the presidential nominee of a major party. On November 2, voters will choose between two female senate candidates, but only one, Barbara Boxer, will protect the right to choose. Women are so firmly entrenched in the mainstream of American politics, it’s easy to take our gains for granted. Let’s not forget that women didn’t even have the right to vote until 1920.

More than 70 years elapsed between the first major women’s suffrage convention at Seneca Falls and the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

In 1917, after four years of lobbying, rallying, and parading, the National Women’s Party decided to step up the pressure on President Woodrow Wilson by picketing the White House. The was the first group in U.S. history to petition their government this way. On January 10, 1917, ten suffragettes bearing flags and banners marched to the White House gate, where they stood as “silent sentinels.” This ritual repeated itself every day, rain or shine, for the next several months. Over two thousand suffragettes from thirty states travelled to Washington to take their turns on the picket line. Between 1917 and 1918, more than 500 picketers were arrested. The suffragettes pioneered tactics of non-violent resistance that would serve as models for future struggles, including the Civil Rights movement.

If you’re tempted to stay home on Tuesday, consider the sacrifices that these brave women made to give women the right to vote. The struggle for women’s equality isn’t over yet. Women’s reproductive rights are still under assault. Republican senate candidate Carly Fiorina doesn’t believe you have a right to choose. Meg Whitman won’t pledge to protect spending for reproductive health care, even though it has been proven to save the state money. Democrats Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown have proven records of defending women’s health and reproductive choice.

It’s up to you. You can cast your vote for freedom and dignity on November 2; or stay home and hope someone else makes the right choice for you.

Comments are closed.