by iampunha | 6/18/2008 08:00:00 AM
On Election Day, 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted.

This, by itself, was no capital offense.

But oh, she had to go bragging about it. Had to gossip with her fellow agitatresses. Had to get their hopes up about an America in which you didn't have to have a job, pay taxes and wear pants to tell the country who should be its next president.

And I'm not saying it was entirely a good thing that women (and blacks, and the folks who were old enough to kill a man but not old enough to vote) weren't allowed to vote, but the rules are the rules.

And by the rules, Susan B. Anthony was on this date in 1873 fined $100 for not knowing her place in this country.

I know this site is about progressives, and I respect that, but once a month, I step outside the box and really give it to you like it is. I like to think of this as my own no-spin zone. If you should at any point get the vapors (that's Southern talk for "be offended), I'd advise you just skip to the end of this little sortie.

Seeing as we got that settled, here goes.

Here's the spin: Voting is a birthright of American citizenship.

Here's the truth: Voting is a privilege extended to a sacred few who historically have been the difference-makers in this country. The great thinkers. The people who were charged with keeping our American traditions in place.

So it was perfectly logical for only white land-owning men to be allowed to vote until the Civil War. And it was perfectly understandable that to vote, those who didn't pay taxes before the Civil War, seeing as they weren't even employed (some day, historians will finally get around to admitting the massive welfare system we had in place for blacks before 1865. Keeping blacks around the house was expensive, so it's natural that the occasional black child ended up stealing away to another family for more food and a better life), had to pay a tax or show they were deep thinkers.

And it was only appropriate that the white male thinkers of this country extend that right to women after their sons had been sent off to war. They were obviously terribly vexed about having their babies off in harm's way over in Europe, and one of them even thought deeply enough to flirt and skirt her way to a position in Franklin Roosevelt's Cabinet.

Now, as I said before, the tests we put in place soon after Reconstruction were really meant as recompense for all those years of living free under the downright charitable roofs of silent welfare supporters from Maine to Texas. But the methods used were having a slightly detrimental effect. Instead of paying their voting taxes and studying hard at the library for their constitution tests, the free blacks in this country just weren't voting.

Now, I would argue that if you aren't working to earn your place in the world, someone is going to take it for you. And in many instances, I think, that happened. The politicians who were voted into office tended to work for their deep-thinking, tax-paying constituents, and if you didn't speak up, you didn't get heard. We can hardly blame politicians for failing to drive out to every rural voter in Nowheresville, Alabama, and visit with shallow-thinking blacks who didn't have the drive to be any more than dirt farmers.

But way back in the 1960s, some Massachusetts Liberal got it in his high-falutin' head that he was going to labor so to take the hard thinkin' out of voting.

Southerners, who more than anyone knew what happens when you give a black person a handout (he stays in your house for the next 60 years — and makes a MESS in your kitchen with watermelon), opposed this for nearly two months, filibustering and trying to talk sense into this babe in arms from the North. South Carolina's own Strom Thurmond set a record for sense-talkin' when he did it for over a day straight.

Well, you get what you pay for, and since then, we've been giving such handouts to blacks and others God did not make for deep thinking. (Oh, sure, there are exceptions, but they just prove the rule.) We give them free college educations. We desegregated the military for 'em — even gave one a few general's stars. We opened our finer eateries to them, allowed them on television, set them loose on the basepaths and on the gridiron. We even named their version of English for them.

And my heavens, what we did for women. Did you know that if you're a woman (as I surely am not), you can do jobs traditionally reserved for men? Here's a hint: if it's got an -or or -er ending, it's a man's job. Yet there Hillary Clinton is, off being a senator. And look at all the women earning a living as deep thinkers — managers. (Personally, I prefer to see them around ... noon, if you know what I mean.) We've got women playing doctor, women driving, women fighting each other in the ring, everything. Women can even choose when they want to bring a bundle of joy into this world. CRAZINESS!

Even wearing pants.

Now, as I said before, I do not think all of this is necessarily bad. These are trying times we live in, and the more tax-paying deep thinkers (another man's job being taken over by women) we have, the more problems we can solve.

But I know from reading my history that we used to let a man pay his own way through school. Working hard, studying hard, none of this scholarship stuff, these Pell grants, these namby-pamby loans. A man worked for a living, even if it meant it took him longer to get through school. And if it wasn't meant to be, he settled down to raise a family, and that family helped him earn the money to pay bills.

And I'm not saying that's how it should be all the time. Of course it can be good to take some time off from work. All that hard thinking and hard working takes its toll on a man. (It's even harder on a woman.)

But maybe we should try an experiment after this November. We'll have all the womenfolk get back to what they'd always done before they started agitating, and we'll get all the blacks back living free in our houses, eating fried-baloney sandwiches, polishing our shoes and mowing our lawns, and we'll just see if everyone isn't happier after that.

Oh, and I guess that Obama fellow can have his vice president take over for him until the traditional deep thinkers judge which society works best for all concerned. That shouldn't take too long. We'll make the decision with deliberate speed.




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Anonymous Anonymous on 6/19/2008 3:52 PM:

On the occasion of her conviction for the crime of voting, Anthony made one of the great speeches in American history. The occasion also comes across as very amusing, because of the judge's fruitless attempts to cut her short.

~~Nate Levin