What will Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Say?

1901 portrait of Alice Paul, cofounder of the ...

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This blog entry was written on the eve of the elections to end all elections across the country. Everyone is getting really really serious about voting. Voting rights, voting trends, voting predictions, voting, voting, voting.

It’s on everybody’s lips.

I received a couple of forwarded e-mails today on the subject and they got me thinking and listening  to the television and radio ads from the various local candidates.

And I started reading…my email. I found one message sent to me today suggesting I remember the importance of woman’s suffrage, a hard-fought fight that was won back in 1920 with the passage of the 18th Amendment.

According to an open letter written by Dr. Joanne Martin, President and CEO of The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, “The passage of the 15th amendment in 1870 gave Black men the right to vote; however, women were still denied the vote. Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and other Black men and women were on the front lines of the battle promoting equal suffrage for all women, Black and white. It was not until the 18th amendment of 1920 that all women gained the right to vote.”

Her story goes on to suggest that women must vote in 2010 pulling the proverbial level of power in the voting booth to protect our future.

This seemed like a noble, worthy cause. This seemed like a rally cry to all women to go out and vote tomorrow. I started making plans, but I kept reading.

In another random, unverifiable e-mail sent late last week I was terrified to learn what suffrage really meant to women who stood up to their male oppressors.

For example, 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.

Then the e-mail’s anonymous narrator chimes in with his or her own commentary. “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?” thus suggesting that women use these excuses and implying they have other excuses for not voting on election day.

They almost had me until I started listening to the messages “approved” by the candidates. Their so-called approved messages gave little indication of what the individual candidate stood for. The ad campaigns were all about what the opponent said, what the opponent did or did not do, what the opponent will do if elected and how horrific it will be if the opponent is successful.

I, like Alice Paul, needed to vomit for the stuff I was forced to swallow. The candidates have all let us down—many of us, if we are honest, go to the polls tomorrow only with what we know from sound bites and glossy airbrushed pictures! We have little if any information about the truth of issues.

I feel I will be forced to vote along party lines too, being cornered into loyalty but having no real purpose or passion for the future played out in the polls. When in 2008 it came time for me to vote for president, I had no doubt that Barack Obama was the right man for the job. I was proud to go to the polls and vote for him because he had promised change and hope. He for me embodied change and hope. He still does embody change and hope for me. After all, this time two years ago, we were on the brink of history—voting an African American into the White House.  We stand at the history-making abyss again, but I fear for the wrong reasons.

But on Tuesday, I will have no sense of passion, no sense of right and wrong or good versus evil. I will be voting along party lines and as such, I feel I am throwing my vote away.

I will vote despite the temptation to ignore the entire process, if for no other reason than because of what Alice Paul endured. But I sure don’t know what to do other than to vote a straight party ticket, thus further polarizing a nation crippled, brain dead and on life support from so much racial bigotry and hate that it can’t stand itself any more. It’s all so crazy.

Even CNN can only randomly satisfy my need to know partly because there are so many elections, it’s virtually impossible to have all the information I need. What about the local stations? What is their mea culpa?

To the readers of this blog, I’m interested in what you think post-voting day. Did you vote? What was your sense of informed voting? Did you feel like you knew what you were doing?  Please send me your comments. I appreciate each and every one of them.


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