Bleeding Kansas is making me think

by jenthorn

As I have been watching the democratic convention and following along with the Republican party as they announce Palin as the likely running mate for McCain, I’ve been stunned at how fortunate the timing of MOXIE’s first show is.  Delicia fell in love with the play last winter.  We knew it would be interesting to produce it right before the election but we had no idea how appropriate it would be until now. 

Here is a breif description of Bleeding Kansas by Kathryn Walat:  It’s 1855, Kansas Territory. The country is divided.  People are turning against their neighbors because of their beliefs.  War is on the horizon. Good people will do bad things and love will grow in places it shouldn’t. 

As I prepare to play Hannah, the Abolitionist from Boston,  I’ve been enjoying the research that Delicia is sending our way.  What kind of young woman leaves a secure life in Boston and makes her way to Kansas without any plan of what she will do when she gets there?  She is only coming to Kansas to try and do what she can to turn the tide and help assure that the state is a free one…but she can’t even vote! All she can do is write letters and talk to people.  She is a young woman operating on faith, a faith which may even get her killed.  Her faith is in her country, in the good that she believes her country is capable of, if only they will make the right choice as they move forward into their future. 

This quote from Sara Robinson’s book Kansas: It’s Interior and Exterior Life which she wrote while living in Kansas as all this history was unfolding. Robinson is actually quoting a man by the name of Stringfellow here.  He is a pro-savery man from Missouri who is speaking here to a crowd in St. Joeseph about their plan to win the vote.

“I tell you to mark every scoundrel among you that is the least tainted with free-soilism, or abolitionism, and exterminate him. Neither give nor take quarter from the d–d rascals. I propose to mark them in this house, and on the present occasion, so you may crush them out. To those having qualms of conscience, as to violating laws, state or national, the time has come when such impositions must be disregarded, as your lives and property are in danger, and I advise you one and all to enter every election district in Kansas, in defiance of Reeder and his vile myrmidons, and vote at the point of the bowie-knife and revolver. Neither give nor take quarter, as our cause demands it.”

It’s a good time to remember that there was a time in history when voting could get you killed. It also makes me happy to think that in our history when we were divided, as we are again right now, that we found a way to come together and do the right thing.  I hope your passionate about this election and you exercise your right to vote.  People fought hard so that you could.

Before we were red and blue states

Before we were red and blue states

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