This Gail Collins column was published in the NY Times last week and I have seen several references to it, but had not read the whole piece. It's worth a second look for those who think change to the current power structure comes quickly or easily.
I sent it to my 22 year old daughter because I want her to appreciate what it took to gain the right to vote. I sent it to my sons to show them they should at all times listen to their mother and do the right thing.
Much has been made about the 70 year fight to get the vote, but the incredible amount of effort that took has been glossed over:
Carrie Chapman Catt, estimated that the struggle had involved 56 referendum campaigns directed at male voters, plus "480 campaigns to get Legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters, 47 campaigns to get constitutional conventions to write woman suffrage into state constitutions; 277 campaigns to get State party conventions to include woman suffrage planks, 30 campaigns to get presidential party campaigns to include woman suffrage planks in party platforms and 19 campaigns with 19 successive Congresses."
And the usual culprits were at work then as now:
The great, thundering roadblock to progress was — wait for the surprise — the U.S. Senate. All through the last part of the 19th century and into the 20th, attempts to amend the U.S. Constitution ran up against a wall of conservative Southern senators.
This article provides a great lesson in the power of persistence, hard work, and never losing sight of your objective. When the Senate proved a roadblock:
the women decided to win the vote by amending every single state constitution, one by one.
There were five referenda in South Dakota alone. Susan B. Anthony spent more time there than a wheat farmer. But she never lost hope. The great day was coming, she promised: "It’s coming sooner than most people think." I love this remark even more because she made it in 1895.
These brave, visionary, "never give up" women (and their male allies of course) should be an inspiration to us all.
GOTV, our country depends on us.