Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm at home today in my Studio. Doing the typical day-off dance in my pajamas; quilt a little, surf a lot and REPEAT..
Todays news about a Wal-Mart employee being trampled to death by shoppers after crashing down the doors really disgusted me.Firstly, I have been a Wal-Mart employee more than once in previous lives. I currently have a love-hate relationship with the retailer,which I admit I'm not exactly proud of. I have been employed in more retail postions throughout my adult life than I care to admit.For this reason I refuse to participate in the Black Friday
consumer freak show and the yearly Holiday consumerism.To this day I personally avoid Holiday decorating and music.
Last season I worked at a Gap Outlet in a popular local outlet mall that lures people from many different countries. Everyone was scheduled to work a shift on the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING STARTING AT 12 MIDNIGHT. My schedule started at@ 4-6 am ( I can't remember specifics due to my preferred coping method of blocking out unpleasant memories). All empoyees were encouraged to sign up a friend as a "work buddy" and that person would be entitled to the employee discount for a limited amount of time. My sister, a devout consumer, was up to the task(not surprisingly.)
The Mall management had asked employees to park a couple miles away from the mall so shoppers could have access to all of the parking. They would be shuttle bus-ing us to the mall.
I didn't feel this was a safe option due to the surrounding neighborhoods and found a spot in a nearby county office lot.
I had never participated in a super early Black Friday as a consumer, but had of course worked on that day in a typical time frame.When we arrived in the VERY EARLY AM at the mall I was blown away at the amount of people EVERYWHERE, not to mention the crowds in the store.
It looked like a bomb had gone off inside the store! There was literally merchandise strewn allover the floor and hanging off fixtures and in haphazard heaps on tables.
Again the anger and disgust of the situation came over me like so many other times when I had to force myself to walk into the store of my employment, fighting the sick feeling in my stomach after merely pulling into the parking lot.
What I'm trying to get at is this:
I'm shocked, saddened and disgusted by this event. How could anyTHING on sale be of such importance that it could cause a person to participate in a MOB MENTALITY??

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ladies...GET OUT AND VOTE!!!!!!!!!


This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago....

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote

(Lucy Burns)

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.

Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.

For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have car pool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege.
Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The
right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history , social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco and Bingo night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

History is being made.

Wilson was a Democrat

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