Time to Vote!

The civil rights activism of the late 1950s and 1960s reached a high point when the Reverend Martin Luther King lead the Selma march that focused America’s attention on this unforgivable inequity, and moved a sympathetic President to work with Congress to achieve a quick passage for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Before the passage of the Act, only 383 African-Americans of voting age, out of approximately 15,000, were registered to vote in Dallas County, Alabama. In the three months following the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, 8000 African-Americans were registered. 

I did a quick search for “voting rights in the 1950s” and the above is part of an article I found.

Informational quote from Voting Rights article here:

Finally, in 1919 following World War I (19148) in which women admirably worked on the home front in support of military efforts, Congress passed a constitutional amendment giving women nationwide the right to vote. By 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified and became law with wording exactly as Anthony crafted in 1878. Little legal resistance to women’s suffrage occurred following adoption of the amendment.

Another good piece of the same Voting Rights article:

Ratified in 1870, fifty years before the Nineteenth Amendment, the Fifteenth Amendment stated “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although passed and ratified to assure black Americans the right to vote, blacks would not be able to freely exercise their voting rights until 1965.

And yet again, more from the same Voting Rights article:

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s greatly raised public awareness of racial discrimination in America. Following the historic voting freedom march of 3,200 black protestors and white sympathizers from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama led by Dr. Martin Luther King, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Urging the passage of the act, Johnson had spoken to a joint session of Congress in March 1965, “Unless the right to vote be secured and undenied, all other rights are insecure and subject to denial for all citizens. The challenge of this right is a challenge to America itself.”

A very good article about how and why women voted can be found here. I submit a few quotes from that:

“It is not hard to explain in a sort of vague way,” said our survivor of the political wars. “Every so often,” he explained, reaching into his capacious bag of memories, “women get causy. You can gentle them around for just so long. The old sweet-nothings stuff, if you get what I mean. And then someone will come along with a ringing call to arms, a cause. And suddenly,” he concluded with a sigh, “they’ll throw party affiliations and party leaders—bosses, some call them—out the window. Believe me, sir, a woman with a cause can be a fearsome thing.” (Later, when we got out in the field, we indeed found women less tolerant, to put it gently, of party hacks and political clichés than their shoulder-shrugging husbands.)

And, later:

In her precinct, Mrs. Wells said, “Women voters outnumbered the men two to one at the latest elections.” Why? Hard to say exactly. But the men are inclined to shrug things off, don’t see what can be done about a lot of things that need to be done. But women are all house cleaners at heart. Sort of look upon brooms, mops, dusters and disinfectants as weapons peculiar to their sex. “Understand?” We nodded.

And yet again:

A Mrs. Annie Furrmann had something to say about the feminine fondness for ticket splitting. She said she doesn’t know “one solitary woman who votes a straight ticket unless she has a political job.” It is—well, sort of woman’s nature. Let’s say (she said) she’s got two children, a boy and a girl. Let’s say one of them gets out of line—disobeys, or something. That one gets a clout or is fined a week’s allowance, or something. Anyway, a stern warning. Punished. Well, that’s the way she feels about politicians and parties. Clout the bad ones regardless of sex or party or personal pre-disposition. She asked us whether her theory sounded screwy. We hedged; said only another woman could answer that. She flapped her hand at us.

And, I love this part:

The woman committee worker (and the woman in general), he [a congressman] sighed, does not take political defeat for her side philosophically. Her side, her candidate, her cause is a matter of great and lasting importance. And she will work up a personal dislike for the candidate she is opposing. If he is elected, her distaste for him becomes intense. That he may turn out to be a better-than-average officeholder rarely softens her. Disappointed women, he said, never forget.

I recommend everyone read the articles. It was a delight and I would love to obtain a copy of the original book/periodical that contained it. I’d frame it! And now, since I’ve shown you some of my research, I’ll tell you how I feel about voting today and why I broke the law.

Did I just say that?

Yes, I did.

What did I do to break the law?

Why, I took pictures!

I did *what*?!

I took pictures!

At this point, y’all should break out the handcuffs because I’ve admitted to taking pictures while voting today. In my opinion, if they can force me to prove who I am not once, but twice, while trying to vote, I can take a picture or three for memorial reasons. Not because this is the first time I’ve ever voted but because right now? I’m paying attention and everyone should notice that I’m watching, learning and ready to pounce.

My first picture was the ticket I was given. Why did I take its picture? Because I want to know what happened to “secret” elections. Why are they tracking the ticket I was given to vote with, writing down what ticket number was mine? Is it in the interest in making sure that I’ve voted and I’m a live person? Or, do they look at my ticket and say, “Hmmm… she voted for so-and-so. Shame on her!” I want to know!

The next picture was purely for sentimental reasons. I took a picture of the ticket where it says who the Presidential hopefuls are. No. I won’t go to jail by showing it to you, dear readers. I’ll keep it for myself.

The last picture I took was when I was leaving, all done voting and time to go. I had to stop and give my ticket to a lady who verified my name (and address) for the second time and wrote down my ticket number – again! Two copies of what my ticket number was! Why do they care!?

However, while I was standing there, the PA system clicked on and a young boy made the announcements for the day and then asked everyone to stand and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. The lady who took my ticket and wrote down the number said, “Are we supposed to do this? Do we have to do this?”

My first thought was, “Are you serious!? We are voting for our President today and we’re standing in a school to do so. Who wouldn’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance!?”

And, for the record, this lady was not young by any stretch of the imagination. She was older than I – quite possibly close to my dad’s age. So, this was no young pup who thought saying the Pledge of Allegiance was a crock.

My hand flew to my chest and I recited it as loud as I dared and snapped one final picture. I’ve cropped and edited it to protect the innocent (and the guilty), but I had a heart-stopping, tear-jerking moment that lasted until I climbed in Rendy and started driving away, knowing I was saying the Pledge of Allegiance on the very day that I voted for who I consider the best man for our future Presidency.

If you look in the reflection of the glass, you’ll see that several people faced their beloved flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance with me. I was never so proud as I was that moment, even if one of the election running gals fudged with the question of if she should or should not say her Pledge of Allegiance.

He, the one I voted for, better prove me right or I’m going to come unglued on him. Did you read above? Women never forget or let a candidate get away with things they’ve done wrong.

For the record, I abstained from voting in 2008. I know, it was wrong of me. However, I believe as I was taught in High School Government Class. I was taught, “If you don’t vote, you’ve got no call griping and complaining about who won.”

I’ve tried very hard to temper my remarks about who won the last election, because of this. The reason I didn’t vote in 2008 was because I couldn’t make up my mind. I believed all the sweet, warm and fuzzy words that were coming out of the mouth of the person that won and I was scared to vote against the way I was raised: Republican. And, for four years, I tried to keep my mouth shut, since it was partially my fault he won.

I told Jen that she had no choice, she was voting today. She had to bring me the sticker that they give you after you vote and show it to me. I forced her to register to vote and told her that she could vote for whoever she wanted. I wouldn’t get involved in her decision process.

But, I did whisper to her, “If you vote the wrong guy, don’t come home.”

She knows I’m kidding. She’ll vote any way she wants. If I’ve done my job correctly, she’ll look at the facts and vote that way. Instead of voting for emotions and pretty words.

She’s leaving to go vote here in a few moments. I’ll be proud to get another person to vote – and I hope she votes the one I want but it really is her choice. She can vote any way she wants and lie to me for 4 years, if she wants. This is a lie I’ll gladly take from her.

And now, back to work. I’ve a lot to do before Wednesday night.

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Categories: 1950s, American, Military, Socializing | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Time to Vote!

  1. I will await the results with great interest. usa effects the world even more so at difficult times like these and well, I do have my heart and conviction in one direction not that anyone need care.. I can’t vote 🙂

    • *my comment got eaten! Bah!

      I was saying that, yes I am waiting with baited breath, as well. That’s all I can do, after casting my vote.

      🙂

      Naia.

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