THE SYMBOLISM OF HILLARY'S WHITE SUIT HAS RECEIVED SOME ATTENTION. TANYA MELICH, THE WOMAN WHO INVENTED THE PHRASE, THE REPUBLICAN WAR AGAINST WOMEN, TAKES IT ALL IN.
HILLARY WORE WHITE
By Tanya Melich
Before we become entangled in the campaign arguments of the next 100 days, let's pause and pay tribute to some of those who paved the way for Hillary's nomination.
When Hillary said, "I accept your nomination for president of the United States," I shrieked joyously at the television. Friends of mine—many of them former Republicans who had joined me in leaving the party years ago over its opposition to a woman's right to choose and to the Equal Rights Amendment—told me they cried.
I didn't cry. I cheered but understood why they did.
The giant feminists of the 19th century first came to mind—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott.
Top-SUSAN B. ANTHONY, Left -ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, Right-LUCRETIA MOTT. SUFFRAGISTS WHO MOVED THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, BY DEMANDING THE RIGHT TO VOTE.
I remembered the suffragists of the early 20th century—Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul among many including those who were force-fed in jail by the Democratic presidential administration of Woodrow Wilson.
ALICE PAUL, LEADER, ACTIVIST &STRATEGIST FOR THE 19th AMENDMENT WHICH GAVE WOMEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE. SHE WROTE THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (THE "ERA"), FIRST INTRODUCED TO THE CONGRESS IN 1923, TO GUARANTEE WOMEN EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW. IT HAS NEVER BEEN PASSED.
I thought about the 24-year old Tennessee Republican legislator who voted his mother's wishes* in August 1920 and became the deciding vote in the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
It had taken 72 years from the Declaration of Women's Rights at Seneca Falls, New York to Nashville, Tennessee for the promise of America to come to its women.
The early fulfillment of that promise was paltry. Elected to Congress were Republicans Jeanette Rankin, Clare Boothe Luce, Margaret Chase Smith and Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas. Women's electoral progress was painfully slow.
JEANETTE RANKIN WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO HOLD FEDERAL OFFICE WHEN SHE WAS ELECTED TO THE CONGRESS BY THE STATE OF MONTANA IN 1916,
Forecasting what was about to come,two more women pioneers burst on the political scene. In 1964 Patsy Mink(HI) was the first Asian Pacific Democratic woman elected to the U.S. House and in 1968 African-American New Yorker Shirley Chisholm joined her in Congress.
SHIRLEY CHISHOLM WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN ELECTED TO CONGRESS. IN 1972, SHE BECAME THE FIRST MAJOR-PARTY AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND THE FIRST WOMAN TO RUN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT.
In the late 1960s, finally women woke up. Along with thousands, I joined the great second-wave feminist political movement led, among others, by Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Betty Friedan
BELLA ABZZUG, CONGRESSWOMAN FROM NEW YORK, WAS AN ACTIVIST FOR PROGRESSIVE CAUSES AS WELL AS A POLITICAL FORCE. IN CONGRESS, 1971-1977.
My Republican feminist colleagues and I applauded when Gerry Ferraro was nominated for the Democratic vice-presidential spot in 1984, but within our party, Reagan and Bush were backing anti-feminist policies championed by the New Right.
1984 WAS THE HISTORIC YEAR WHEN GERALDINE FERRARO WAS NAMED THE VP RUNNING MATE OF WALTER MONDALE BY TGE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
National Republican leaders used a nasty scorched-earth strategy against excellent Republican legislators like Millicent Fenwick, Peggy Heckler, and Marge Roukema. Their backlash strategy destroyed a budding set of women candidates who today could have been the Republican presidential candidate.
MILLICENT FENWICK WAS A 4 TERM REPUBLICAN CONGRESSWOMAN FROM NEW JERSEY, 1975-1983.
For many Republican feminists, it was a terrible period of hand-to-hand combat against those who opposed women's rights.
Today when commentators talk about the historic nature of the nation electing its first woman president, they ignore the nearly 168- year struggle and pain that came before the 2016 presidential election.
For many of us, Hillary's election is terribly personal.
White was the symbol of the suffrage movement.
When I vote on Nov. 8th, I will wear white to pay tribute to those brave, beautiful Americans who sacrificed so much so that one of the most highly qualified people to ever run for president will be inaugurated next Jan. 20th. She will prove once and for all that competence is more important than gender.
###July 31, 2016
*If you want to read the story of Henry Burn, who cast the deciding vote in Tennessee to ratify the 19th Amendment and give women the right to vote, click on link below.
The Mother Who Saved Suffrage: Passing the 19th Amendment