A Public Service Announcement From Guest Blogger Liz Georges

The First Essential Scary Truth

Here’s an early in the Presidential election year but none the less prescient remember to vote blog from Liz Georges.


This little PSA is not about telling you WHO to vote for, only that you should VOTE.

This is especially true if you are a woman.

One of the most underrepresented groups at the voting booth are women between the ages of 18 and 35. In the local precinct that I work for my party, a precinct of roughly 1800 registrered voters, do you know how many women didn’t vote in the 2000 election? Six hundred and eighty three. Yup, that’s right. About one-third of my precinct.

Do you understand that less than 100 years ago, women weren’t even ALLOWED to vote? The conventional wisdom was that women were “too emotional” and “didn’t wnat to be bothered with such things as governmnet.”

Do you know what women had to go through to get the right to vote? For 70 years women met and petitioned to be involved in government. To have merely the basic right to choose the people who made the laws that governed them. They marched, and finally, picketed the White House. They were jailed for having the audacity to remind Woodrow Wilson that even though they were “fighting for democracy” overseas, they were neglecting democracy for the nation’s women. The “Silent Sentinels” as they were called, were the first non-violent civil disobedients in the United States.

Many of the Protesters were arrested when the U.S. entered World War I. Alice Paul, Rose Winslow and others were arrested and sent to the Occoquan workhouse. When Alice Paul commenced a hunger strike, she was moved to the psychiatric ward and force fed with a tube. Three times a day for three weeks straight, a tube was forced into her esophagus, and used to force feed her.

“Yesterday was a bad day for me in feeding. I was vomiting continuously during the process. The tube has developed an irritation somewhere that is painful. Don’t let them tell you we take this well. Miss Paul vomits much. I do, too, except when I’m not nervous, as I have been every time against my will. We think of the coming feeding all day. It is horrible.” — Rose Winslow, November 1917, from prison.

“At night, in the early morning, all through the day there were cries and shrieks and moans from the patients. It was terrifying. One particularly meloncholy moan used to keep up hour after hour with the regularity of a heart beat. I said to myself, ‘Now I have to endure this. I have got to live through this somehow.’ I pretend these moans are the noise of an elevated train, beginning faintly in the distance and getting louder as it comes nearer.”— Alice Paul, from prison, November 1917.

Other prisoners who did not get moved to the psychiatric ward fared no better. Under orders from W. H. Whittaker, superintendent of the Occoquan Workhouse, as many as forty guards with clubs went on a rampage, brutalizing thirty-three jailed suffragists. They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her there for the night. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate Alice Cosu, who believed Mrs. Lewis to be dead, suffered a heart attack. According to affidavits, other women were grabbed, dragged, beaten, choked, slammed, pinched, twisted, and kicked.

Former officers in the workhouse testified that the food at the workhouse was often infested with worms and maggots.

Read this excerpt from Winslow’s prison diary.

This was all less than 100 years ago. This is not ancient history. Imagine being told that because you are a woman, you are not intelligent enough to vote. This happened to our grandmothers. Our grandmother’s generation fought for this right. Women like Alice Paul and Rose Winslow and Lucy Burns suffered in prison to make sure you would have it.

Voting may take some time, you may have to stand in line. Boo hoo. Women were willing to be force fed with a tube for three weeks straight to do the thing that you take for granted — to go into a voting booth on election day and vote.

Are you going to be the one to say that their sacrifice was for nothing?  Because if you don’t vote, that is precisely what you are saying.

What more is there to say? VOTE!


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