Election Day 2020

It’s Election Day 2020! I’m breathing! Voting is important; especially this year!

I’m a history junkie and and a fanatic regarding politics. I’ve been this way since I was about 9 years old. I vividly remember the presidential election of 1960. My 9 year old memories are of two things; JFK is Catholic and the chatter about JFK’s good looks! I always thought the chatter around the Catholic issue odd, even as an 9 year old. Folks were sure that if JFK were elected that the Pope would essentially be the President. Again, I thought this odd. 

This is a book that I have kept safe since 1960!
I remember reading this over and over again!

Growing up my Mom and Dad voted. I don’t remember going to the polls to vote with them. My parents weren’t overt in speaking about politics. My memory is vague but I believe that my vote matters was instilled in my DNA at a young age. 

So fast forward to going to College, University of Mississippi. I grew up in the time of Civil Rights and Vietnam. You had to be 21 years old to vote during this time. Yes, you could be drafted to serve in one of the armed forces at 18 years old and yet you couldn’t vote. You had to be 21 years old. This was changed on June 22, 1970. I was a rising sophomore at Ole Miss. I immediately began to calculate when I could vote for the first time; 1972. I could wait two more years! 

So vote I did on November 7, 1972 for George McGovern. Nixon won in a landslide. I still remember that sad feeling. It took until November 2, 1976 for me to feel that exhilaration that Jimmy Carter won that election. I took JJ with me. He was two years old. Taking my sons became a ritual with me as did crying during the voting process. I called JWF to verify my memory. “Yes Mom. You always cried as you were voting.” 

So fast forward to 2004. I am beginning a new chapter in my life by moving to Charleston, SC. Someone at the school where I had worked for 19 years gave me a fabulous book; Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment. I read it and was shocked at my utter ignorance of what women had done on my behalf to vote. It took 72 years of women tirelessly working for women to vote. 72 years! It began in Seneca Falls in 1848. In the end, women would be jailed, beaten and force fed. Read that again. Where was this taught in my history class? It wasn’t!

Totally LOVE this book!

I asked a friend the other day if women’s right to vote was taught in her High School history classes. She is 10 years younger than I. No, she wasn’t taught this. I can only remember photos of women in white. I remember feeling betrayed and mad after reading this book. And then I began to think about the young women of today. Sometimes I wonder if they take their freedom for granted. Ruth Bader Ginsberg paved the way for us. We’ve got to do better and tell our stories.

So today I voted. I believe this is the most important vote that I have ever cast in my 48 years of voting. Thank you to the thousands of women that worked tirelessly and never were able to cast their vote. May we never forget how we got here. 

And there’s the sweet spot! Living in the midst of history! Recording our stories! Yes, I cried while voting. My right hand was shaking! That one was new!

And I end with this. . .my Mother’s mother was born on October 19, 1888. In 1920 she would have been 32 years old. I wonder if she voted? I am going to make it up to be yes! Sure wish I could talk to her right now!

2 Replies to “Election Day 2020”

  1. Grateful for you and your passion! Love learning from you and your stories. I was one of those young women who took my right to vote for granted. I’m pretty sure I voted in every presidential election I could vote, but I didn’t appreciate the value of voting in EVERY election. I now understand the importance of local elections that have a major impact on day-to-day life in our communities. It’s my right – and what a privilege – to research and be informed and be ready to cast my vote. Voting in 2012 was a turning point for me. It’s when I realized that I usually just voted the “party line,” or whatever my family/spouse voted. I remember standing in line to vote and feeling totally unprepared. Who was going to get my vote? Obama or Romney? I was quickly scanning articles on my phone and decided to vote for Obama. I can’t remember the exact article or issue that swayed me, but I specifically remember coming home and telling Steve that I voted for Obama and was surprised by his reaction. He was upset and said, “I feel like you cancelled my vote!” WTF?! I made a commitment to myself that I would never be so unprepared to vote ever again. I’ve also been intentional about discussing politics and current affairs with Steve since that election, too. I want our children to grow up knowing that there is no topic “off the table” – if you can’t talk about it – you can’t learn from it or find solutions. Thanks again for sharing your heart with me. Much love to you!

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    1. Oh my goodness Mandy! That was a powerful response. Let’s make sure that women’s stories are shared; our stories! We have lots of friends that are older than us that have unbelievable stories. Let’s get it recorded.

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