Thursday, August 26, 2010

The 19th Amendment 

Before my late father passed away early this year, I used to joke with his doctors that he was so old that, when he was born, women did not yet have the right to vote in this country. That was true -- he was born in 1915, and the 19th Amendment was certified 90 years ago today, in 1920.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
At the time of the Constitutional Convention, it was pretty much taken for granted that the franchise was intended for property-owning white guys. I guess that it is easy for me to say this as a middle-aged property-owning white guy, but I think women have made a great deal of social, political and economic progress over the past century. An argument can be made that there is still work to be done, perhaps in such areas as equal pay (although there is data that suggests that the gap has narrowed in the past few decades), but from a big-picture standpoint, it is much better to be an adult female in the U.S. today than it was in 1910 or 1920.

I was going to imbed one of those old TV ads for Virginia Slims, but I am not a big fan of cigarettes, and I thought some might consider it to be a wee bit condescending (the "baby" part). So, just the link. I have tried so hard to reform my ways since I joined what was then an all male club in college just over three decades ago. I know that I still have a long way to go, baby. Oh, darn.


By Anonymous feeblemind, at Thu Aug 26, 06:41:00 PM:

The Founding Fathers feared the irresponsible vote, which is why voting was restricted to landowning men, and even that vote was checked by state legislatures voting for the Senate and the Electoral College.

One wonders how different the USA would be today had that standard been left in place?  

By Blogger Dymphna, at Thu Aug 26, 10:40:00 PM:

Well, first we'd have to define "land-owning", wouldn't we?

How about condominium owners?

Or those whose land is still owned by the bank?

Or those land is owned by the bank and the whole darn thing is underwater and getting deeper by the day?


Since a great many people don't even register to vote, and those who do register may not show up at the polls, our behavior would be foreign to those Founders.

I'm glad we don't have mandatory voting (as in Australia), but I do wonder about the nefarious schemes to get illegals registered to vote and the extent to which their 'votes' will cause major problems down the line.

Evidently voter fraud is a growing problem in some areas of Texas. It's always been s.o.p. in large cities with Dem machine politics. Which is why large cities are in FAIL mode, almost without exception.

It wouldn't be any better with Republican majority thuggery, just a different flavor. But it would be ummm...'interesting' to see what they'd do.

As for women having the vote...that's a toss-up (imho). The old style feminists who worked so hard for the vote, and before that, the abolition of slavery, had nothign in common with the narcissistic feminists of the 60s onward. They missed a major moral opportunity to pull poor women up with them, but the Whole Whine focused on mean men and how they held women down...

Few self-respecting women who think through the problems we face are willing to call themselves 'feminists'. I'd like a penny for every time I've heard a woman start a conversation with, "I'm not a feminist, but..."

Have they "come a long way" or have they simply traveled in circles, gradually forming a rut into which they sink ever more deeply?

Freud famously asked what women wanted. I'd like to ask if they're any happier than their grandmothers were at their age...  

By Anonymous QuakerCat, at Fri Aug 27, 09:53:00 AM:

As another White Male, I was shocked to see how much further women have yet to go based on the election cycle of 2008. Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton was by far the best candidate for the Dems. As an outsider looking into the Democratic race I was dumbstruck that they would be stupid enough to turn from a sure thing in way of White House victory to an untried, un-vetted, far less experienced male candidate. At the time I remember remarking to my female friends about the many snarky and often subliminal commentary being made that seemed to be code for a weak woman or not ready for prime time. As a conservative I was thrilled that McCain was up against Obama because I was convinced America would finally see the Reverend Wright and Louis Farakhan connections and all the questionable Chicago nonsense and turn to McCain.
With Sarah Palin even before she was ever interviewed by Katie Couric or Charles Gibson, right after she came out and blew everyone away at the convention was quickly ravaged by the MSM and every "progressive" for not being capable or tough enough to handle the job of presidency; despite having more executive leadership experience than the guy they had already nominated.  

By Blogger Ed Rasimus, at Fri Aug 27, 11:34:00 AM:

We might do well to go back and read the Constitution as originally written and before amendments. You'll find that the only application of "voting" to elect officials takes place for the least powerful branch--the House with lots of people sharing power for very short terms.

The Senate was "appointed" by the state legislatures not popularly elected until the 17th Amendment in 1913.

No mention is made at all of a citizen voting to choose the President. That office is chosen by a College of Electors who themselves are appointed by processes determined by the states. No voters involved.

And, the federal judiciary is appointed by that unelected president and confirmed by that unelected senate.

Your vaunted franchise wasn't worth all that much!  

By Anonymous Clinias, at Fri Aug 27, 01:23:00 PM:

TH, you're such a liberal. In the book The Origins of Socialism, George Lichtheim, on page 258, states that "'conservatism' in Britian and the United States is a debased form of this early liberalism". American 'conservatives' are liberals.

Women voting is the death of this country. Women have no business in politics or law.

Vox Day writes:
"It will be interesting to see if a nation that institutes female suffrage can remain sovereign and at least nominally free for even 100 years. The UK gave up its national sovereignty to the EU only 81 years after it instituted women's suffrage. The US might make it, but it's by no means a sure thing.

It's important to remember that because the vast majority of the women identify themselves by the herd and by sex rather than as individuals, they will usually see themselves as women first and [fill in the ideological identification] second. Thus we have the absurdity of a self-styled "conservative" woman celebrating profoundly anti-conservative and avowedly progressive progress."

You can read the rest here: Happy Unicorn Day

Men and women are not equal. I suggest reading Sex Differences, Modern Biology and the Unisex Fallacy by Yves Christen.  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Fri Aug 27, 01:50:00 PM:

Clinias, if women voted as a herd you more likely would have seen Clinton over Obama for the dem primary but their vote was divided (largely by age). As to the rest of your comments, I am guessing you are doing the dishes tonight.  

By Blogger PD Quig, at Fri Aug 27, 02:11:00 PM:

Correlation or causation? Shortly after women won the franchise, the avalanche of federal government spending began to accumulate. How much of the nanny state is attributable to the "chickification" of society driven by the women's vote?  

By Blogger pam, at Fri Aug 27, 02:17:00 PM:

Funny, Bomber!  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Fri Aug 27, 02:51:00 PM:

PD Quig, causation would be hard to prove since government spending was fairly under control until the 50s with the major exceptions of defense spending leaps during wartime (and high (testosterone?) levels maintained in cold war period). Pensions and medical expenses are the main culprits since and I am not sure you could call these primarily chick driven issues. Education is also expensive so I suppose if the moms want the kids out of the house so they can eat their bonbons in peace, there may be that driver. I am not sure where to place the blame for the nanny state. Mary Poppins seemed to pull things out of her hat (or purse, as the case may be). It would seem to be more the voting reward system which has brought us to this sorry state. But I'm just a dame so what do I know.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 27, 03:21:00 PM:

@ QuakerCat:

Read the book Game Change, which is about the 2008 election and includes an extensive focus on the Democratic primary. Hillary blew the nomination on her own, in part due to her sheer arrogance and in part due to the dysfunctional campaign organization she built.

It's a fascinating read which confirms all your worst suppositions about Hillary Rodham Clinton. She's an out-of-touch, elitist snob with nothing but disdain for ordinary Americans. She dripped with resentment about having to leave the comfort of her DC lifestyle on a private jet to mix and mingle with the hayseeds and hillbillies at backyard barbecues and county fairs in Iowa (my home state). She hated those people, and not surprisingly they hated her back.

Hillary would have been a much better President than Obama, though, but that's like winning a prize for being the world's tallest midget.  

By Anonymous Steve Skubinna, at Sat Aug 28, 05:11:00 AM:

The Virginia Slims ads always bothered me greatly, not least because they trivialized women's rights.

Even worse, they glamorized smoking in a particularly reprehensible manner, by tying it into self actualization.

Every time I see the women in pink marching against breast cancer, I recall that breast cancer is not the leading cause of death among women - that's heart disease.

The leading cancer death among women is... lung cancer. Yeah, you've come a long way, baby. Granted, choosing to smoke is an individual decision, but I wonder if we'd have thought ads promoting Russian Roulette as somehow tied to women's rights and achievements to be as cute.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Sat Aug 28, 05:42:00 PM:

"She's an out-of-touch, elitist snob with nothing but disdain for ordinary Americans."

And how, exactly, does that distinguish her from BO?  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sat Aug 28, 09:43:00 PM:

Clinias -

How is your view on women voting, or being involved in politics or law, different from the views held by, say, an Islamist? I thought one of the things that made the West worth defending from Islamist radicals is the role that women can now play in our society.

Read any of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's writings, and you'll get a sense of just how brutal life can be for a relatively high-born East African Mulim woman. That she can come to the West and have a much better life illuminates the differences in the societies.  

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