We have the chance to vote again Tuesday. I hope we all realize how lucky we are to have the right to vote, men and women alike.
Through the years, all countries around the world had problems getting women's suffrage granted. What is women's suffrage? I always had thought it only meant giving women the right to vote, but after reading the information I obtained from Steve Arthur, Ellis librarian, I found the definition: The right of women to vote and run for office. The expression also is used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of taxes or marital status.
Women's suffrage was fought for in the USA. When I saw the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" on September 26 in Cody Commons at FHSU's Memorial Union, I was surprised how long and hard the women fought for this right we now take for granted. The movie sponsored by FHSU's Women Leadership Project dramatized the American women's fight for this right. The American women's suffrage movement lasted from 1912 to 1920.
During these years, they fought by picketing, led protest marches, paraded, hung banners and even were jailed. President Woodrow Wilson finally had to give in to save face. After years of opposition, Wilson changed his position in 1918 to advocate women's suffrage as a war measure.
American women won the right to vote Aug. 18, 1920, with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Women's suffrage explicitly is stated as a right under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations in 1979.
I borrowed parts of an article I read in the August issue of South West Faith and Family publication for the rest of my story. An anonymous author described what the younger generation might think we are: "They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers and, in some cases, dinosaurs. We walk a little slower these days, and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and have grown old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that's probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.
"In school, we studied English, history, math and science, which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with first-hand experience. We remember the days of telephone party lines, 25 cent gasoline and milk, and ice being delivered to our homes. A few even remember when cars were started with a crank.
"Yes, we lived those days. We are probably considered old-fashioned and outdated by many. But there are a few more things you need to remember. We won the World War, fought in Korea and Vietnam.
"We can quote the Pledge of Allegiance and know where to place our hand while doing so. We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield. We fought for the 'Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.' We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag.
"We know the words to 'The 'Star Spangled Banner,' 'America' and 'America the Beautiful' by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing.
"We may drive a little slower than you would like, but we get where we're going and, in 2012, we're going to the polls by the millions. This land belongs to We, the People, and We, the People, plan to vote. It is our right.
"The next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country and thank God we old geezers can still vote and for the freedom to do so."
Opal Flinn is a member of The Hays Daily News generations advisory group.