It’s only casting a ballot: What’s the big deal?

OK. So with the upcoming big vote upon us in just another short season (because I’m sure being assaulted by the massive political ads won’t get old at all) my thoughts—you know the emotional kind—turn to the burdensome job it is to actually cast a vote.

This means, of course, I have to read things like political ads, newspaper articles, maybe a few longer magazine articles or some online publication. Not only is this research time consuming but I also have to think about what I’m reading and since I normally only read Christian romance novels or inspirational stories, this kind of puts a damper on things.

Fortunately, part of my investigative work is pretty easy because all Christians vote for the same party—God has clearly ordained that—as I recently heard one Sunday in church.

Compared with my engineering husband who sees all situations as potential problems to solve I may be more emotional. I have been known to shed a couple of tears during a movie, for instance, and sometimes when I think about the day ahead when one of my nieces or nephews will leave their homes for college, I get teary on behalf of their parents. I even have lost it a time or two for no apparent reason, just some silly feeling about the past or the future or the could-of’s or should-of’s of my life.

Still, I can be pretty rational too. I always think ahead, for example, and know the most efficient order to accomplish any given set of tasks. And since I completed a Ph.D. I think there is ample evidence to suggest it required more than a fair bit of critical thinking and reasoning.

While my husband and I may process things differently each having a unique approach I think we usually arrive at pretty good answers, often the same ones. And I cannot imagine believing either one of us is more uniquely qualified to think for the other.

Yet if Rethinking Vision Forum contributor Libby Anne is correct (who also blogs at LoveJoyFeminism) there are apparently some who would like to see American society revert to earlier years in our history, to undo the work of the suffrage movement, to take away women’s rights to vote. Claiming that women that men are the rightful heads of their households should extend their leadership even to the voting booth, (and besides, women are often too emotional for such clear-headed decisions) people such as Doug Phillips of Vision Forum see a brighter future for America if men were the only ones with a voice.

In most any other time, if I had heard such an absurd notion, I would have easily dismissed it as the musings of someone so out of touch with reality there was no reason to give the idea a second thought. But in the midst of our current political climate where recently two women were censured on the floor of the Michigan house for using the terms “vagina” and “vasectomy” in heated deliberations over abortion legislation, and where state after state takes aim at reproductive decisions made by women and where an entire party can vote against equal pay for women with little or no repercussion, I must admit to being more than a little frightened by the power of the patriarchal movement afoot.

The courageous women of the late 1800s and early 1900s who worked so diligently to secure voting rights for women would surely be appalled by the anti-women atmosphere percolating in churches and political arenas today. I imagine they would be shocked to know few people today know about their fight, know what it took to overturn the male bastion of Congress to open it up for representation for all.

So, I’ve been wondering how we got to this place? How did we go from women gaining the right to vote almost 100 years ago to people now claiming women shouldn’t have a voice in society except for in the home?

It’s evident we live in a time of backlash against the feminist movement but surely there is something more going on here. I mean Hilary Clinton raised the ire of many who saw her as too strong, too independent, too influential, but now as it is impossible to overlook her outstanding work as one of our best Secretaries of State, it is difficult to imagine she alone inspires such antipathy.

Much like an earlier era when public disdain for the fundamentalist movement resulted in it rounding up the wagons as it were to build numerous colleges for the purpose of educating students in ways amenable to its worldview, I wonder if the extension of the home school and private school movements have not only completed the picture but have successfully indoctrinated a new generation into the power of patriarchy and called it the gospel truth (there are exceptions, to be sure)?

Living as I do in the heart of a conservative strong-hold you can imagine my dismay by these recent events and you may think I must be pretty distressed by this situation.
I am.

But, I also have hope because the Women Religious of the Catholic Church are standing up to the Vatican. They are saying in a voice loud and strong that women are people made in the image of God, that justice is greater than oppression, that faithfulness to God trumps being complicit to an organization—even the church—when it purports to be the voice of God all the while transgressing the heart of God.

And if these Sisters will continue to stand together and take on the patriarchal power of the Catholic church, maybe they will inspire American women across the nation to go and do likewise.

May God bless you, Sisters.

(Disclaimer: Vision Forum has pulled the article which specifically addressed the issue of women voting. I drew information here from Rethinking Vision Forum and Jenn’s Gems).