Remembering Susan B. Anthony

voted

I Voted! Have you?

It is Election Day in the USA. Every election is historic in its own way but this year is most definitely more so for various reasons.

Most will agree that the entire last year, every day leading up to today, no matter who you support and what you believe in, has been a tremendously stressful time. I can say that the last few weeks of this election cycle has kept me distracted enough (in addition to other things such as cracking my heel, a million deadlines to keep up with, medical issues in the family, among them) to come visit the blog more often. That I hope will slowly ebb after tonight.

I voted already last week so today I have some free time to tend to writing here. Obviously my thoughts center around the elections even though I want it to finish the last 1000 words for a novel. This morning I find myself thinking of something beyond the choices that are at stake today, something as basic and fundamental as voting rights.

Sometimes it astonishes me that people take their right to vote so casually, and sometimes they don’t feel motivated enough to exercise that right to vote. We find time to run from one meeting to another at work, ferry a vanful of kids from one soccer game to another, host forty people for Thanksgiving dinner, yet we can’t find time to register our names to vote. Believe me, I’ve seen this happen far too many times around me. And, it astonishes me.

We, particularly the women, need to remember to not take this right for granted. Yes, we have made progress, but much is yet to be achieved.

I remember Susan B. Anthony today. She, who made possible for women to vote in the USA. Do you know what she had to go through to get us all to this point? Well, here’s a quick refresher:

  • She attempted to vote in Rochester in 1872 and was arrested. She was publicly tried and convicted, but refused to pay the $100 fine.
  • Anthony went before Congress every year from 1869 to her death in 1906, asking them to consider an amendment allowing women to vote.
  • After Anthony’s death in 1906, a phrase from her last suffrage speech, “Failure is Impossible,” became the motto of young suffragists.
  • Fourteen years after her death in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified.
  • When it was finally passed in 1920, the amendment was called the “Susan B. Anthony amendment.”

It has been an overwhelming sight at her grave this year where visitors pour in to offer their respects to this pioneer who faced what we–women of now–will hopefully never have to face again. I say “hopefully” on purpose, because having a right now does not mean it is going to last forever, unless we make an effort to keep it that way.

So, go on folks, exercise your right to vote. Vote for whatever and whoever you believe in, but vote regardless. Your right will not matter as much to anyone else the way it matters to you. So, honor it and protect it every day of your life.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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