Kage Baker was a staunch proponent of universal suffrage.
As I have previously reported, she admired Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Annie Besant, Katherine Russel (Viscountess Amberly) – all those determined and ferocious ladies, and their crews of equally determined and ferocious ladies. They lived in every country on Earth – Lichtenstein, Puerto Rico, Iceland. Did you know that? Most of them, especially in America and the UK, were also fighters for many other vital civil rights causes – presaging the recent modern cry that Women’s Rights Are Human Rights!
As Kage was wont to point out, in the grand old days of the suffrage movement, it was damned dangerous business. It’s all very well to chain yourself to the railings at Parliament or the the local State House – popular activities in both Britain and the East Coast of the US – but it didn’t take the local constabulary long to figure out where to get chain cutters. And then the ladies were dragged off to prison; where they were beaten, branded, force-fed when they went on hunger strikes, denied food and water when they didn’t, and all too often killed.
Civil rights promotion has never been an easy career. And with all this, fewer than 60% of Americans of any gender voted at all in the 2016 election. It’s freaking discouraging, Dear Readers.
But they did win, those ladies with their Rational Dress Reform and white petticoats and red, white and blue sashes. So now, in the ever-so-enlightened 21st Century, we laud them cheerily and happily, and regard them with the affection we give to especially feisty grandmamas.
But I can’t help but wonder … what was it like in the evenings, coming home tired and bruised and maybe soaked through from fire hoses (yep, that goes way back, too), to darkened houses – because your maid came with you to the protest, and your husband went to his club or his bar or his mother’s in a snit … did they wonder if it was ever going to work? Did they wonder if it was worth it? Did they eye the laudanum, the butcher knife, the husband’s fowling piece, and ponder who might be the best person on which to use those instruments?
Since I presume our assembled ancestresses were human (mostly, anyway), I’m pretty sure they did indeed get the blues. It must have been so hard, so painfully hard, to lose So. Many. Times. Over and over, and who’s to say when or if it will work? Faith is one of those weird things that you absolutely have to have to fight this kind of fight: but which will do you no good at all in finding armies, wielding weapons, surviving attacks. It’s hard, in the cold darkness, to cling exclusively to faith and stubbornness.
I, like many of us, Dear Readers, have spent the day besieging Heaven (or at least the aether around Washington DC) with calls and emails begging for the defeat of Jeff Sessions. Who was nevertheless confirmed as the most wretched Attorney General since John Mitchell. In the previous days since January 20th, I have importuned my Congress-critters daily, begging them to refuse Tillman as Secretary of State; to refuse Bannon his place on the National Security Council; to refuse Devos control of our educational system.
Nevertheless, they have all been confirmed.
Just to make my own several days more horrid, I have also been fighting off a deep and pestilential respiratory infection. It is finally retreating, and I am almost feeling good. But I’ve had little energy the last week. While I have spent it all in writing, it’s been writing to the Feds and begging them to grow some spines and brains. A few times I’ve varied the routine by sending off similar letters to Sacramento, whose turn in the barrel I anticipate coming up in the near future … not that I am all that sanguine about them, either, since the member of Brown’s staff in whom I had the most faith (his late Corgi, Sutter Brown) has been called back to God for re-assignment …
So, I’m depressed. I admit it. I have been sick, tired, drippy, achy, fevered; and every day has ended in coughing up amazing new colonies of malign bacteria; and seeing the even-more malign bacteria in Washington work their evil will on my poor country. But, you know what, Dear Readers?
There was a little hummingbird, who made her nest just outside my kitchen window last month. She, and it, were exquisite little miniatures of silver moss and snowy fluff. But in the last big storm here in Los Angeles, the wind and torrential rains took her nest and whirled it away. She hadn’t laid her eggs yet. I hoped desperately that maybe she would try again, as the weather warmed up. And this morning – there she was, back again, working on the edges of her new nest.
The storm struck her, hard. Nevertheless, she persisted.
So can I.