Thursday, November 10, 2016

She Flies With Her Own Wings

Signing the equal suffrage proclamation
 she wrote, with Governor Oswald West
Just a little over 48 hours ago, I was gathering with other women--and a few young men--at the grave of Abigail Scott Duniway, pioneer woman, teacher, writer and journalist, prolific orator, and suffragette who was responsible for helping women finally getting the vote in both Washington (1910) and Oregon (1912). She also helped her husband run a farm, ran a few schools and a millinery shop, launched and published her own weekly newspaper, published fiction and nonfiction, and raised six children.

She welcomed all to the suffrage cause: Jew, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Christian Scientist, Spiritualist, Theosophist, and Pagan. Because of her steadfast campaigning, Oregon became the seventh state in the U.S. to pass women's suffrage. She was a badass, just like Hillary Clinton.

On the unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon on Tuesday, we were full of confidence we'd be toasting our first female president that evening. We had young boys with us, who proudly proclaimed themselves as feminists:

We had Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy with us too! (Dr. Lovejoy was the first woman appointed to direct a department of health in a major U.S. city, the Portland Board of Health.)
Some of my coworkers joined me:
My mom and friends from church also joined us, as well as others from our secret Pantsuit Nation Oregon group. Some wore white, one wore a clergy collar, some wore pantsuits, and some wore Hillary shirts. And the Oregonian sent a reporter and a photographer, in the hopes of recording history...which was not to be. At least not just yet.
Excited, hopeful women gather to pay homage
I understand many didn't like Hillary as a candidate, but I enthusiastically supported her candidacy. As the most qualified presidential candidate we've ever had, because she's a woman, she had to be 100 times as good as her opponent. Instead, she was only 99 times as good.

I am still grieving and raging this loss. I was an enthusiastic supporter of the most qualified presidential candidate we have ever had. I cried when I read inspiring stories on the Pantsuit Nation Facebook group about why women and men were voting for Hillary. I couldn't believe we would finally have a female president, a proud feminist. defender of women and children, and supporter of reproductive rights. Instead our country elected a self-identified sexual predator who is stoking the flames of racist, xenophobic, and homophobic hatred. My heart is broken.

And you'd damn well better not tell me "it will be okay." What happened on Tuesday is very much not okay.

But I am doing my best to move from rage to action. It's going to take some time.

"She flies with her own wings" is Oregon's motto and the title of one of Abigail Scott Duniway's books. I am reminded that it took five unsuccessful campaigns (in 1884, 1900, 1906, and 1910) to pass women's suffrage at last, in 1912. Abigail died three short years later in 1915. And so we fight on.

I am in it for our children...for my friends' children who are Muslim, Mexican, black, Jewish, LGBT, female, and scared shitless at the moment...and I'm in it for the white men I love too, like this guy:

This rage has got me back to blogging. Next: white people, what have we done?