Women’s Equality Day on August 26 is celebrated as a commemoration of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. While most of us now take this right for granted, in its day, women’s suffrage was a controversial issue and those who fought for it were considered radicals.
While this is an excellent opportunity
to honor this significant moment in our history, it is also a chance
to recognize the radical women of our own time who are working not
only to insure that the democratic process really works and that our
votes count but also to rectify the situation when it doesn’t.
This movement and all people who care about the fundamental rights of women are facing a juncture, and which way we go will decide the future for generations. The pouring of all hopes and energies into the Democratic Party that has sacrificed the issue of abortion to “winning” in the mid-term elections leaves us with this question: at what point will we decide to really fight and at what point does it become too late?
The women of the pro-choice movement must resolve to take a radical departure from the strategy that is in large part responsible for the ground we have lost. Funneling all our energies, money and imagination into elections and candidates and a political process that is howlingly disconnected and at odds with people's needs, objectives, interests and principles has to be roundly and decisively rejected.
Unless there’s a drastic shift of strategy from accepting "what's possible" within the official politics of this country that are pitching far right, unless we bust through the confines that are squeezing the life out of what we have going for us the most -- the initiative of millions of women who are looking for a way out and asking to be called into action -- we are going to lose it all, and the agenda of the Operation Save America lunatics now moving to shut down the last abortion clinic in Mississippi will be the handmaid’s tale we will actually be living.
As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day,
let us honor not only our radical foremothers, but also women like
Greenberg and Harris who are working tirelessly in our own time to
insure a government that is truly representative of the people.
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