Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Are women smart enough to vote?

Throughout most of the world , women did not have the right to vote until the early part of the 20th century. Surprisingly, women WERE allowed to vote in local elections in medieval France and several other European countries, and women in Sweden were given conditional suffrage during the “age of liberty“, which lasted from 1718 to 1771.

In most countries, the battle for the right of women to vote was a long, long process.

In the early day s of the United States, women were allowed to vote in New Jersey for a brief period of time (from 1790 until 1807), but the suffrage movement really did not get under way until 1848. It wasn’t until 1920 that the Nineteenth Amendment (which gave women the right to vote) was passed. In a strange twist of history, the amendment was strongly supported by Republican members of the Senate, and opposed strongly by the Democratic members.

The Nineteenth Amendment came a full FIFTY YEARS after the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color - unless they were women. Then (as now) a variety of states enacted barriers to prevent minorities from voting, an inequity that was largely resolved (or so we thought) by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed.

Women are continuing to be a powerful force in American society.

One example of that fact is something that I see every day in my job as a car salesman. It’s been said that AT LEAST 70% of all car purchases are either made by, or influenced by, a woman. As a result, the “old style” car guys who treated women with scorn are largely non-existent today,

Women are also becoming a HUGE factor in local and national elections.

In 2008, 56% of women voters (who were 53% of the total voters) voted for Barack Obama, and his support was especially strong among minority women. In North Carolina, nearly 100% of the African American women voted for Obama.

Minorities will also play an increasingly large role in American political elections. It has been estimated that 82% of the increase in our population between 2005 and 2050 will be due to immigrants. By 2050, whites will become “the new minority”, when they will make up only 47% of the population.

Shakespeare is often credited with the phrase, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, but the phrase was actually originated by one of his contemporaries, a man named William Congreve.

That phrase came to mind on the morning of March 14, when I read Maureen Dowd’s column in The New York Times. Whether you like her or not, Hillary Clinton is going to be a larger factor in the fall election than you might otherwise think.

By now, we’re all tired of hearing about Rush Limbaugh’s verbal assault on Sandra Fluke, so I’m not going to elaborate on that topic. Not all of the country, though, is going to be able to read the Doonesbury series for this week, so I’ve included one of the strips below:

Texas is still a foreign country

Like Texas, Arizona sometimes seems like a foreign country. As a matter of fact, both states WERE part of a foreign country (Mexico) until 1848. Like Texas, Arizona also has its share of wacky legislators, but at least some of the letters that I’ve written to the legislature have actually had an effect. It was announced in the March 13 edition of the Arizona Republic that SB 1474, the “guns on campus” bill, has “stalled because of lack of support.” Unfortunately, one of the members of the House of Representatives recently introduced a bill (HB 2729) that would allow guns in ALL public buildings, including police stations, courts, city halls, libraries, public pools, and the state Capital, so my work isn’t done yet.

Another bill that is making its way through the Arizona legislature is HB 2625, which would make it possible for employers to fire employees for using birth control.


On the world front, there is ONLY ONE country that does not allow women to vote - Saudi Arabia. Due to the fact that the conservative leaders of this country believe that allowing women to drive would lead to sexual promiscuity, Saudi Arabia is also the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.

IN 2015, women will FINALLY be allowed to vote and hold public office, but there still aren’t any plans to give them the car keys. In July 2011, a woman in Jeddah was sentenced to ten lashes for driving a car, a fact that makes sense to very few people., even to other folks in the Middle East.

Compared to the status of women worldwide today with where they were 100 years ago, the only thing I can add at this point is this:

I’ve also learned, long ago, that if you “treat them right”, you’ll have
a happy ending


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