“Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity”

I hate partisan “politics”.  I hate the adversarial, black and white, win/lose thinking and acting.  I hate the posturing, misspeak apologetics, “politically correct” thinking & speaking, the duplicity. I hate the minute by minute poll taking and the bashing, and bludgeoning, the money spent.

Sometimes voting seems more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it is downright inconvenient.


I almost didn’t read this disturbing and inspiring article sent by my friend Sharon.  I’m glad I did.  It  shook me out of my “bad attitude” about the electoral process. 

Please take a minute to read the story of our Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers who lived only 95 years ago. I think you will be glad you did too.

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.

Lucy Burns

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.

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 k nocked 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. For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms.

Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on November 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragettes imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. 

Some women won’t vote this year because . . . why, exactly?  

  • Don’t know who to vote for?  
  • Haven’t had time to study the issues?
  • We have carpool duties?
  • We have to get to work?
  • Our vote doesn’t matter?
  • It’s raining?
  • We don’t have time?
  • My husband’s vote will just cancel out mine?

Mrs. Pauline Adams in her prison garb

(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a 60-day sentence.)

The HBO movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels.‘  has been released on video and DVD.   It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that American women could pull the curtain at the polling booth.

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.

The movie depicts Woodrow Wilson and his cronies trying to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized.  The doctor refuses. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.

Alice Paul

The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this message 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 –  VOTE.


Thanks Sharon for the reminder not to take for granted all our hard fought for liberties.