Suffering Suffrage

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Friday marked the 85th anniversary of American women’s suffrage and was thus a holy day for statists. Granted, it’s a lesser one, not in the same league as Election Day or April 15. More like Epiphany than Christmas, perhaps. But it still set feminists, socialists, and assorted others of the faithful to genuflecting. They celebrated with speeches and seminars in their temples, which they call museums, as well as other foolishness across the country, in compliance with a passage from their scriptures: a “Joint Resolution of Congress, 1971, Designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day” directs that “the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities.”

Alas, the chief god in the political pantheon, like the Ba’al of Elijah’s mockery (I Kings 18:27), was vacationing. The president nevertheless ordered one of his seers — sorry, speechwriters to come up with an address honoring “Women’s Equality Day, 2005.”

The resulting proclamation babbles about “the 19th Amendment to the Constitution guarantee[ing] American women the right to vote” and burbles patronizing pap (“Since the adoption of the 19th Amendment, women have continued to make great contributions to our Nation…The hard work of American women is essential to the strength and vitality of our country…we honor the perseverance, leadership, and achievements of the suffragists and all of America’s women, and we renew our commitment to equal justice and dignity for all…” blah, blah, blah…). Underlying these musings from on high is the presumption that voting somehow validates us. Citizens are legitimized, even ennobled, because the state allows them to enter a booth and pull a lever. Voting is as sacramental to statists as baptism is to Christians.

It reminds me of the scene from My Cousin Vinnie in which Vinnie tells his girlfriend that the prosecuting attorney has invited him to hunt deer. He then demands her opinion on what pants he should wear. In admirable Brooklynese, she tells Vinnie to imagine he’s a “little deah” who puts his “little deah lips” down to a “babbling brook…Awl of a sudden, BAM! A f—— bullet splatters ya brains awl ovah da ground. Now I ax ya, da ya give a sh– what kinda pants the son of a b — that shot ya was wearin?”

As the president and his complicit, craven, criminal Cabinet splatter American brains and blood all over Iraq, do we really care whether Leviathan allows this or that group to participate in the great democratic sham of voting?

The presidential proclamation concludes, “IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of August in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth [sic]. GEORGE W. BUSH.” No doubt we will endure more cries from the right about George’s righteousness given his invocation of the Almighty. Look for them to wax so joyous over this formulaic hiccup that the whopper George told in the previously quoted lines will, as usual, elude them.

But it won’t elude us: “We honor the perseverance, leadership, and achievements of the suffragists and all of America’s women, and we renew our commitment to equal justice and dignity for all.” Really, George? “All of America’s women,” huh? Would that include one hot and grieving mother outside your ranch? She’s persevered through all that nature and the nasty pro-war partisans can throw at her. She’s seen her principles mocked, her son’s memory dishonored, her motives questioned, her character impugned. Yet there she stands. She can do nothing else. Yep, that’s perseverance, George. Honor it.

You want leadership and achievements? This mother with her single-minded devotion to decency and the Constitution has helped turn public sentiment against your murderous, horrific war. I’d say that at the very least, she’s earned an invite back to the ranch, George, and a beer raised in tribute.

Then there’s the bit about “renew[ing] our commitment to equal justice and dignity for all.” George undoubtedly meant to add “citizens” there at the end, because as it stands, the prisoners at Gitmo might quibble. They have yet to experience either justice or dignity, let alone equal doses of them. We might also poll passengers being groped at airport checkpoints about the dignity of such molestation. The good folk of New London, CT losing their homes to the thieves of city government could say a word or two about justice. And so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

For our closing benediction, we turn to the National Women’s History Project and the letter from its executive director, Molly Murphy MacGregor. Maybe Molly swiped George’s seer: her letter and his proclamation share the same sanctimony, disregard for truth, and poor writing. Molly tells us that “August is an exceptionally important month for honoring the remarkable work of the hundreds of thousands of people who worked to expand democracy for women…. Defending and expanding democracy is what American history is all about…”

Cindy Sheehan, mourning a boy killed for George’s expansionist democracy, might disagree.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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