We are Standing on the Edge of Women’s History – Embrace It
Somewhere between James Comey’s vague comments about Anthony Weiner’s emails and the panic over Donald Trump’s candidacy we have lost sight of the magnitude of this election. For the first time in our nation’s history citizens have the opportunity to vote for a woman to lead them as President of the United States. I refuse to allow media noise or the tantrums of an orange toddler to dampen my enthusiasm for this moment. We are about to make history and I am reveling in it.
In 1848, men who held the vote in the United States wrote the laws that governed the nation. They gave themselves near total control over the franchise, elected office, property rights, and the terms of divorce. That July in Western New York, a small group of brave, crazy visionaries imagined a world where women could do the unthinkable – vote. The idea of women voting threatened to shatter male dominance. It would expand the electorate to include the other half of the population as full participants in American democracy. And that’s exactly what Elizabeth Cady Stanton wanted – to rebuild the nation as a place where “woman is man’s equal.” She demanded the vote for women and rewrote the Declaration of Independence in the process. Her Declaration of Sentiments still reads like a radical manifesto in which “all men and women are created equal.”
When I was a junior at SUNY Geneseo I visited the small town of Seneca Falls, New York, home to the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. While inside Wesleyan Chapel, I reached my hands into the air, spun around, and soaked in the atmosphere. Women and men made history – women’s history – in that place and I could feel them there with me. Even now when I close my eyes, I can conjure the thrill I felt as I stood in the spot where Stanton once stood.
One week from today I have the opportunity to bring Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s work to its logical conclusion. I will cast a ballot for a woman to be president of my country. And I will savor every second of it.