Co-worker Jana Mitcham wrote an excellent column last week chronicling what women in the area went through in gaining the right to vote several decades ago.
While it almost seems comical now that at one time women could not vote, in reality, it wasn’t that long ago that this backwards law existed, as baffling as it seems today. I sit in an office next to Jana and have long admired her work ethic and journalistic ability. Outside of the office she is a dedicated mom and wife and defines what I consider to be a successful woman in the year 2008. To deny someone like Jana the right to vote because of her gender is the ultimate insult to anyone with half a brain.
Personally, I’ve never been threatened by strong-minded women. It’s probably because I’ve always been surrounded by them and their influence helped shape me into the person I am today. I believe strongly in full equal rights for women (probably more than some women do) and it makes me angry when I hear men try to deny women even the most basic measure of those equal rights.
Some of the strong women who have influenced me include my mother who is probably the smartest person I have ever known — male or female. A retired teacher, my mom seldom encounters a problem she can’t tackle. From finances to decoding a confusing document I receive in the mail, her 37-year-old son still turns to her for advice.
Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were women I grow up admiring for their strength, dedication to family and caring natures. To have known both of them for so long is something I will always treasure. I miss them both and would give anything to spend a little time with them today.
My better half is also a woman I admire and not because she laughs at my silly recollections of childhood memories. She has dedicated herself to the political process, making it a point to stay informed on the latest happenings of the world, many times more so than her journalist sidekick who considers himself a political junkie.
My better half’s mom is also a woman I have come to admire very much during the last 13 plus years. In fact, I would say she is a personal hero of mine. She has had to overcome some personal obstacles during her life but you never hear her complain or ask for pity. She serves as a second mom to me and there have been times when she dishes out motherly advice as though I were her own son. There isn’t anything within my power I wouldn’t do for her.
In addition, my better half’s grandmother, Lucille, is a unique woman. Now in her 80s, she defies stereotypes by keeping up with today’s culture, even more than people younger than myself do. She can tell you about the latest American Idol episode or what the latest gossip is before it is printed in the tabloids. On a more serious note, I am thankful to be able to soak up her knowledge and wisdom and look forward to continue doing so for many more years.
All of this brings me back to my original point of woman having the right to vote. When I think of how each of the women I have talked about in this column are all smarter than me in so many ways, it would be insane for them not to have the right to vote just because of their gender. While our society still needs to advance in some areas, at least we have progressed in this one.
I would be proud to stand side-by-side with any of these woman on election day. In fact, I would be proud to let any of these women go before me and cast their vote. I know each of them has earned that right, just as all women have. While some weak men may still feel threatened by strong women, I am not.
As we move forward in 2008, let’s remember the contributions women have made to the political process and in our lives.
Chris Bridges is a reporter for The Banks County News. Contact him at 706-367-2745 or e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.