Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
I wrote about voting in the primaries here.
And a friend emailed this to me this morning:
Last night was stunning. In my lifetime the Civil Rights Act was
bullied through an unwilling Congress by Lyndon Johnson, and less than 20% of eligible black voters even voted
in the South because of poll tests, harrassment, and threats and violence.
I simply can't imagine what black men and women my age must have been
thinking. Can't imagine.
I'm just overwhelmed. I'm so proud that my boys get to grow up with the role models available to them now. And I love that my three year old knows the names of the presidential candidates and excitedly shreaks "Barack Obama" and even "John McCain" when he sees them.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
THIS IS MOVING. HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET.....IF ....WE EVER KNEW...... WHY
WOMEN SHOULD VOTE
This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived
only 90 years ago. Remember, it was not until 1920
that women were granted
the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless
for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote. And by the
end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and
their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted
of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'
(Lucy Burns)They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above
her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
(Dora Lewis) They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head
against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought
Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the
guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and
kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at
the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the
suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White
House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open
pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.
(Alice Paul) When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger
strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured
liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until
word was smuggled out to the press. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/nwp/prisoners.pdf
So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why,
exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't
matter? It's raining?Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's
new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these
women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my
say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.All these years later, voter
registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less
personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation
than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.My friend Wendy, who is my age
and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk
to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept
coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. '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, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The
right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'HBO
released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and
government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown
on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our
usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should
be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.It is jarring to watch
Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice
Paul 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.' Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to
all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was
fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic,
republican or independent party - remember to vote.History is being made.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We were groomed to think bigger and better -- achievement was our
birthright -- so it's no small surprise that our marriages are more freighted.
Marriage and its cruel cohort, fidelity, are a lot to expect from anyone, much
less from swift-flying us. Would we agree to wear the same eyeshadow or eat in
the same restaurant every day for a lifetime? Nay, cry the villagers, the echo
answers nay. We believe in our superhood. We count on it.
So, did our feminist foremothers set us up for failure? Or were they just trying to empower us so that we wouldn't buy into the notion of having to be a better better
Either way, many of us semi-bought into it. As the tail end of the
baby boomers/mavericks of Gen X, we still had one foot in the Good Girl pond, or
at least the wet footprints leading out of it. In the beginning, we felt obliged
to join the race to have it all; being married was an integral part of the
contest and heaven forfend we should be disqualified.
Flash-forward to 10 years later, when we discover that we can get it all but whose harebrained scheme was this anyway? We can get jobs, get pregnant, get it done. We can try -- with varying levels of success -- to get sleep, get fit, get control, and get
those important Me-moments where one keeps a journal with thought-provoking
lists that go "I'm a woman first, a mother second, a laundress third." We get
upset, we get over it. What we don't always get is: Why.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I would really like to have a clean and organized house, but I truly don't know how two people who work full-time jobs that require more than full-time work, with two small children, can possibly have such a thing. Maybe if I could ever get the house organized to start with, we could try to keep it that way, but there isn't enough room, we have too much stuff and it all seems to just expand every time I think I'm starting to get it under control.
My sister, who is 8 years younger than me, just moved into a new house with her boyfriend. She has been decorating and organizing it and frankly, I'm a little jealous. Everything is new and she has more bedrooms and more closets than I do. My mom has been helping her clean and get set up (as she did for me).
I talked to my mom a few days ago and she said that she was telling Amanda, "if you do these things regularly (wipe down baseboards, clean windows, etc. ), it will be easier to keep your house clean." I lamented that with two kids and our jobs, I just don't have time to do all of that. My mom then said, "well, I work as much as you do, and had two kids and no help from your dad and I managed to do it." Thanks, Mom. I needed to be reminded that you're superwoman and I'm not.
Sometimes, I really wish I was like her. Others, I'm happy that I am not so OCD that I can't sit in front of my TV and have a glass of wine without feeling guilty that there is chaos around me.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Shriver describes "losing herself" after she became the "Governor's wife" and was asked to leave her job as a journalist. She talks about trying to conform herself to the expectations of others, growing up in a family that was in the spotlight and being ever cognizant of how her actions might reflect on the family and about what they expected from her. A couple of years ago she realized that she didn't know who she was and had lost herself in the shadow of her husband and her family. Through this process of self-realization, she made pledges to herself, one of which stuck with me - "I pledge to show up every day as myself."
Like the women on the show who told Maria how they identified with her, I found myself thinking, "I wish my husband would watch this show. I think he would understand me better if he did." I listened and watched as the women talked about the freedom of putting yourself first every once in a while and not feeling guilty about it, about finding your identity apart from your role as a (enter your career here), a mother or a wife. and about allowing yourself to be still and quiet for at least 10 minutes a day.
I never imagined that I could lose myself. I think there are plenty of people in my life who would be equally shocked at that idea. I have always convinced people that I am self-assured and that I know what I want. I have a lot of opinions and am rarely afraid to express them. Because of that, people put me in a box in which I'm not sure I belong. There are many days I wake up and wonder if I can contine the charade. If today will be the day that someone finds out that I'm not really that smart. Or that someone realizes that I really don't have that much self-confidence. Or that someone comes to my house and sees what a disorganized mess it is. Or that they realize that I lose my patience with my children easily. Or that I'm a nagging wife sometimes. The list could go on and on and on . . . ..
I used to think I was the only person who felt this way, but as I have begun to become more vulnerable and reveal myself to others, I have found that it's a nearly universal feeling for women. And this feeling prevents us from showing up as ourselves everyday. Until I do that, and find out just who I am, I can't answer the question, just who will I be.