Civil Disobedience As An Instrument Of Change
Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 @ 5:10AM
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states the following:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
When government fails to listen to the will of the people, the people have the right, and the duty, to take action.
Throughout the history of our Nation, civil disobedience has played an important role in bringing about significant change.
This article was sent to me by a friend, who got it from a friend.
Read what happened to the women suffragists who fought for the right to vote in the 1900’s.
WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE
This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great- grandmothers, as 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.’
They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. 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. 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.
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 institutional-ized. 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.
And, if all of the freedom-loving citizens in this country join forces, we will make history in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
In the 2008 election, 69,456,897 eligible American citizens cast their votes for Barack Obama.
154,198,685 other eligible Americans did not.
Conclusion: “We The People” outnumber the “Enemies of Freedom” by a 69% to 31% margin, a clear advantage in any battle.
So, with a clear numerical advantage, why would anyone adopt the position that it is impossible to stop the Democrats’ march toward Socialism?
I am struck by fact that 129,391,711 of you cast your votes for either a Democrat or a Republican in 2008, knowing full well that your vote would be wasted. It is pretty obvious to millions of free-thinking Americans that neither major party has a plan to solve the problems facing our nation today. And, I believe it is becoming painfully obvious to a growing number of you that neither party is interested in doing so. Their sole mission is to stay in power.
Our mission is to vote them out.
The American Citizen Party was formed to give you something to vote FOR:
A simpler, fairer tax collection system, and;
A return to the governing principles in the U.S. Constitution.
So, keep this in mind as you contemplate your role in determining the future of our country:
A vote based in principle, and cast with conviction, is not a wasted vote. It is the most powerful weapon on earth.
JOIN AND SUPPORT THE AMERICAN CITIZEN PARTY TODAY!
Robert A. McNeil, Chairman
American Citizen Party
Posted by Bob McNeil
Tags: American Citizen Party, Barack, Barack Obama, civil disobedience, enemies of freedom, McNeil, Obama, Robert A. McNeil, voting, voting rights, we the people, Woodrow Wilson