It’s 1970 and I’m a big shot

I’m in ninth grade and about to participate in my first sit-in. Why not? The whole country is protesting something – women’s rights, the Vietnam War, President Nixon. I’m nervous, though. I don’t want to get kicked out of school.

The sit-in was planned yesterday when we were told that us girls could no longer wear short skirts. Instead, they had to be no more than an inch above the knee. How stupid is that?

Before school starts, about 50 of us sit on the front lawn. The bell rings to begin the day. We look at each other. We don’t get up. Man, are we feeling triumphant.

Until the principal shows up and says, “Get to class. Now!”

One by one, we stand and sulk our way through the school doors and to class.

I guess we need more practice at this protesting thing.

Image credit

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A Crowd of Resistance

Mrs. Helen Stoddard of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union speaks to an unruly crowd.

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Mrs. Stoddard scanned the crowd. Some listened while others talked among themselves, paying no attention to her whatsoever.

“I grieve with you, citizens of San Antonio. One woman from your San Antonio Women’s Club continues to grieve for her husband, who fell to his death while drunk. Another woman is dead by the hands of her husband, the owner of a saloon. His only defense? ‘I was drunk. I didn’t know what I was doing.’”

Someone yelled, “Drink or not, Carl’s a louse. Never takes me on credit.” The woman next to him punched his arm.

“Who will be next?” Mrs. Stoddard continued. “Will it be your daughter, still in her youth, whose face will feel the wrath of a hand that has held too many whiskeys? Will it be your mother, your sister, or your aunt who will have the misfortune to be associated with a drunkard? Will the man stumble down the stairs of his home and find an innocent target? Point the edge of his knife to her throat? Will she be pummeled by a fist, discarded like a mere piece of garbage?”

“Maybe she weren’t so innocent.” The man, close to the front, laughed. A few others joined his guffaw.

“In the words of the great Elizabeth Cady Stanton, ‘Reformers from all sides claim for themselves a higher position than the church. Our God is a God of justice, mercy, and truth. Their God sanctions violence, oppression, and wine-bibbing, and winks at gross moral delinquencies. Our Bible commands us to love our enemies, to  Resist evil, to break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free…In our creed, it is a sin to hold a slave, to hang a man on the gallows, to make war on defenseless nations, or to sell rum to a weak brother and rob the widow and the orphan of a protector and a home.’”

I turned my back to the bandstand. It was dark now, but the gas lampposts provided enough light to see a shadowy figure behind a cluster of trees twenty feet behind me.

“I’ll be right back, Aunt Amelia. I want to check on something.”

If Sadie was still there, I didn’t want to scare her away. Trying to be inconspicuous, I inched to the left of the tree and then slipped behind it. “Sadie?”

Excerpt from The Last Bordello

 

Am I really thanking Trump?

No, but …

We The People had been far too complacent. Most Republicans and Democrats thought he would never win. He did. Snuck right under our noses like a not-so-quiet thief in the night. Then, when we rose, said, “what happened to all our shit?”

Trump has unknowingly forced us to take a hard look at ourselves and, in doing so, we have awoken to reconfirm our beliefs and our rights (or lack there-of).

Now, dialogues are reopened. Millions of people are speaking up, and out, to the masses. We are no longer complacently thinking that things are okay. They are not. And, for the most part, they were. Ten days ago we did not have executive orders that divided us with the rest of the world, executive orders that remain questionable in their constitutional authority.

Yesterday, the DNC tweeted: We want to know what YOU want the future of our party to look like and what you want from our next Chair. Tell us:

Well, they got an ear-full! Here’s one:unspecified.png

Read more here.

Yes, Trump has inadvertently brought us together. Did you see the marchers on January 21st? The women, men and children of all backgrounds including the Black Lives Matter and LBGT community who came together as ONE? Did you see the protesters at JFK airport and learned how it led to a stay in Trump’s order to keep immigrants away? I am SO proud of you!!

We The People, of the United States, in Order to form a perfect Union,” have returned to our moral code and now remember how to march, how to protest, how to voice our frustrations and concerns.

Am I happy he is president? Hell, no. But I’m glad he has, in no accord of his own,  made us remember what is important.

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”-Gandhi.

“Ask yourself this question: ‘Will this matter a year from now?’ –Richard Carlson, American psychotherapist and author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

When you carry something elephantine for the good of humanity, the feet where you tread will leave a deeper, lasting impression. Carolyn Dennis-Willingham

 

Four Million Threads

 

They showed from every corner

From sea to shining sea

And set their sights to ameliorate

The key of democracy.

And, across the globe they crowded

Lifting wings of strength, declared

the rights of all humanity

Shall no longer be impaired.

Yes, on that day, they gathered

Determined, forged ahead

 awareness in a tapestry,

made from four million thread.

-CDW 1-22-17

 

Please have a look at these related posts:

Jill  -a lie by any other name is still a lie.

GC’s, “Yes gentlemen , the oft labelled “weaker sex” demonstrated to the entire world that they had more spine and political savvy than many of the top gun politicians around the world.”

And marches around the world.

Eggs against Prostitution and Alcohol Reform

(1901) Meta learns, while attending the Women’s Christian Temperance Union rally, that soiled dove Sadie has snuck out of the bordello and is hiding in the background. As Meta listens to the speakers advocating for women’s rights, and the men become angry at the progressive words, something unexpected happens.

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Excerpts from The Last Bordello,  Chapter 28: Eggs of Folly

Meta Duecker

“Due to the efforts of the WCTU, the age of consent has been raised from thirteen to fifteen. We strive for even higher,” Miss Fisher <Minnie Fisher Cunningham, Women’s Right Activist> said. “Every day, the newspapers report acts of violence against women and remind us of men’s incapacity to cope successfully with this monster evil of society.”

“What are you saying, missy? We men ain’t capable?” The man’s words elicited angry comments from the crowd.

Miss Fisher hesitated before she continued. “We know you men are hardworking gentlemen. For women, education is the key, both in and out of the home.”

Some women clapped. Others squinted in puzzlement as if the thought of learning something other than child-rearing had never occurred to them. Her words enlightened me and affirmed my goals.

A man, close to the front, pumped his fist. “My wife don’t have time for more learning. We got six kids needing supper on the table.”

Querulous male voices erupted from the crowd.

“Why do women prostitute themselves to the abnormal passion of man?” Miss Fisher continued. “Because they are poverty-stricken, destitute above temptation, and driven by necessity. They sell themselves, in marriage or out, for bread and shelter, for the necessities of life. How can we blame them? They have no other recourse but to live in a society that dictates what they—we—can and cannot do. To solve this problem, we demand that women be allowed to exercise their inherent, personal, citizen’s right to be a voice in the government—municipal, state, and national. Then, women will have the power to protect themselves.”

“We men protect our women just fine,” a man shouted. Other men yelled their agreement.

Mayor Hicks stepped to the podium, his lips pursed. “Enough of your heckling. Save your disagreements for editorials in the newspapers. She has a right to free speech.”

“So do we,” someone yelled back.

The mayor banged a fist on the podium. “These women are invited guests. By God, we will show them our Southern hospitality.”

The raw egg came from nowhere. It narrowly missed the mayor’s head before landing on the bandstand floor. He squinted, scouring the crowd.

Poor Mrs. Fenwick held a shaky hand over her mouth.

Miss Fisher reached below the dais and pulled out a speaking trumpet. “The true relation of the sexes can never be attained until women are free and equal with men,” she said, her determination thundering above the chaos.

The second egg hit the podium dead center. The crowd either gasped or laughed. Some men took hold of their wives and scurried them away, while the women in black remained steadfast in their chairs behind the podium.

…  The yolk running down the front of the dais did not deter Miss Fisher. She stood firm, her voice amplified by the speaking trumpet. “As the great Susan B. Anthony said, whoever controls work and wages, controls morals. Independence is freedom. Independence means happiness. Therefore, we must have women employers, superintendents, legislators. For moral necessity, we must emancipate women, pull them out of prostitution, and safeguard our country. Thank you.”

 

 

 

“Fanatics” Against Prostitution!

Greta, one of Sadie’s fellow prostitutes at the bordello, tries to comfort her after they learn members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union are coming to town to Protest against vice. (From The Last Bordello)

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Greta put an arm around Sadie. “I love you truly, truly, dear,” she sang.

“Stop it!” Sadie unclenched her fists long enough to wallop her palms on the table. “Your piping doesn’t help.”

Greta puffed her cheeks and blew out a huff. She placed her hands around her throat. “Geez, kill me now. You’re actin’ like you been slurpin’ asshole soup again.”

“Hypocrites, all of them.” Sadie’s face reddened. “Those protesters make me sick. Religious fanatics who can’t mind their own damn business, preach like they’re better than us.”

Her last comment, barely a whisper, I knew Sadie was thinking about her religious nut of a mother. She rarely spoke of her, but when she did, she referred to her as Lucinda the Lucifer. The woman had forced Sadie to recite Bible passages before allowing her to eat and preached the sin of men’s unbridled passion until her ears burned. Who wouldn’t run away after that kind of upbringing?

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