Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lessons from the Clinton Campaign -- Not to Forget

One forgets sometime, despite being a mom in my 40's, that life has not always been with its current abundance of opportunities for women. I had not been thinking of the election as a learning experience for my children until yesterday's speech by Hillary Clinton -- http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/speech/view/?id=7903.
You also can listen at NPR at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91282297.

I'm asking my children, especially my daughters, to listen again, specifically to the following perspective:

  • To all those women in their 80s and their 90s born before women could vote who cast their votes for our campaign. I’ve told you before about Florence Steen of South Dakota, who was 88 years old, and insisted that her daughter bring an absentee ballot to her hospice bedside. Her daughter and a friend put an American flag behind her bed and helped her fill out the ballot. She passed away soon after, and under state law, her ballot didn’t count. But her daughter later told a reporter, “My dad’s an ornery old cowboy, and he didn’t like it when he heard mom’s vote wouldn’t be counted. I don’t think he had voted in 20 years. But he voted in place of my mom.”
My husband and I spend a lot of time talking with our kids about life from the past -- that life has not always had the opportunities it has now. On the fun side, we have been using Netflix for expanding our children's perspectives about how life has changed. We have had a tremendous about of both fun and indepth conversation following anything from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to Some Like it Hot on the lighter side while my younger kids are still in elementary and middle school to show them that women haven't always had the broad lives and expectations that they have now. We take them with us, especially when they are younger, to vote to see how this is important in their lives, and talk about the challenges of getting the vote. But I had forgotten about yesterday as a teachable moment...and a moment in history itself.

My daughters will probably be explaining this year to their own children when they walk them to school or watch old movies...

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