Today is the finale to the American election. I’ve never been particularly interested in politics, but as I’m writing this it’s 2 a.m and I am wide awake, because this election is different. This election has captivated my heart in completely unexpected ways and it’s not because I passionately support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. In fact, this post will not attempt to persuade you to vote for either.
Please set aside your #imwithher hashtag and take off your “make America great again” hat. Forget the candidates, the policies and the scandals. Forget this circus of an election. Instead, I would like to kindly ask that you shift your perspective, because like I said, it is not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton who have captivated my heart. What has is this:
For the first time ever, a woman’s name is on the election ballot.
Let me put the gravity of this moment into perspective for you. Here is a brief timeline of Woman’s Suffrage (woman’s right to vote) in the United States:
1872: Susan B. Anthony attempts to vote and is arrested, along with 15 other women. In Michigan, Sojourner Truth demands a ballot and is refused.
1887: The Senate votes on woman’s suffrage and denies it.
1890: Wyoming becomes the first state to grant woman’s suffrage.
1912: Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party becomes the first major political party to support Woman’s suffrage.
August 26th, 1920: American women win the right to vote nationwide.
1965: The Voting Rights Act is passed which prohibits denying the right to vote due to someone’s race (a.k.a: people of all genders AND races are finally given the right to vote).
Can you believe that less than 100 years ago women were not granted the right to vote? Furthermore, that women of different races were denied the right to vote a mere 50 years ago? So, not only are women being allowed to vote in this election, but if they choose to they can vote for a woman.
This is a huge deal. This is groundbreaking. This is such a beautiful tribute to how far we have come in our fight for women’s rights and gender equality. If nothing else, can we all agree that this is a momentous occasion in the history of women’s suffrage?
Susan B. Anthony and her fellow suffragettes risked everything to give us this great privilege. So when you vote today, think of them. Think of their sacrifices and their courage. Honour them by showing up to the polls and exercising the right they so passionately fought for. It doesn’t matter who you vote for—just vote!
In the meantime I’ll be here in Canada, wide-awake and heart pounding. I’ll be thinking of all of the great men and women who went before us to fight for gender equality. I’ll be thinking of how breathtaking it is that women have the right to vote and that people are receiving ballots with a woman’s name on them.
And I’ll also be weeping whenever this photo comes up on my newsfeed.
Good luck, America! With love, Canada.