Thursday Inspiration

by Esther Emery

On this Thursday in September of this election year, women’s votes are under discussion everywhere I turn. Since it is so interesting and “newsworthy” to split the world by gender–although in my inconsequential experience I so frequently see partners voting together, even across gender lines–I thought I’d have a little fun with it myself.  Personally, I’m looking forward to standing alongside the rest of penis-free America in being blamed for whatever happens this November.  We can take it.  We’ve taken so much worse.

Here’s some brilliant doggerel written in that long ago era before women got the right to vote. Oh, wait, not so long ago. Sixty-five years AFTER the era of Bleeding Kansas, less than a century ago, Alice Duer Miller wrote Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times. Here are just a few of her cheerful jabs. 

I’m inspired.

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Our Idea of Nothing at All
(“I am opposed to woman suffrage, but I am not opposed to woman.”- Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Webb of North Carolina.)

O WOMEN, have you heard the news
Of charity and grace?
Look, look, how joy and gratitude
Are beaming in my face!
For Mr. Webb is not opposed
To woman in her place!

O Mr. Webb, how kind you are
To let us live at all,
To let us light the kitchen range
And tidy up the hall;
To tolerate the female sex
In spite of Adam’s fall.

O girls, suppose that Mr. Webb
Should alter his decree!
Suppose he were opposed to us-
Opposed to you and me.
What would be left for us to do-
Except to cease to be?

*****

On Not Believing all You Hear
(“Women are angels, they are jewels, they are queens and princesses of our hearts.”- Anti-suffrage speech of Mr. Carter of Oklahoma.)

” Angel, or jewel, or princess, or queen, Tell me immediately, where have you been?”

“I’ve been to ask all my slaves so devoted Why they against my enfranchisement voted.”

“Angel and princess, that action was wrong. Back to the kitchen, where angels belong.”

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