It's the same in any lingo

בַּת-בָּבֶל, הַשְּׁדוּדָה: אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ-- אֶת-גְּמוּלֵךְ, שֶׁגָּמַלְתּ לָנוּ
אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת-עֹלָלַיִךְ-- אֶל-הַסָּלַע

How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when? ~ Rav Hillel, Pirke Avot

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes
Wear It With Pride

31 August 2008

My Address to The Rise, Denver Colorado, August 25, 2008

It was my honor to be asked to speak at The Rise by Dr. Bledsoe, and give voice to those who could not make the journey to Denver.  I want to thank Heidi Li Feldman whose belief in me allowed my trip to become a reality.  In July on her blog she placed me in the company of Frederick Douglass as a man willing to stand and speak up from the steps of the Federal Courthouse, in Asheville NC, for the rights of women.  I was humbled and honored to be placed in such great standing.  Though I expressed to her that I was wholly and totally undeserving of such commendation, she felt otherwise.

Another great (s)hero of this revolution, Riverdaughter of the Confluence, remarked on her blog that she considers me a "true feminist."  Again, I humbled for the recognition.  Her dedication and eloquence (and snark), has been a touchstone for many of us.  It is a privilege to be in such company.

We all deserve to be treated equally.  We all are endowed with inalienable human rights.  If we fail to stand up for each other than our lives are worthless.  To my mind it costs nothing to speak out.  The price of silence is far greater.

Good evening. Before I begin I’d like to thank the people who made it possible for me to be here tonight. They know who they are so I will allow them to remain anonymous. It is in honor to be a voice for those who could not make the journey. I’d also like to thank everyone at Seneca 160, the Asheville Hillary Meet Up, and of course the bitter crew at Bitterpoliticz for their unwavering support of Hillary throughout the election, into the summer, and beyond. And I want to thank all of you. Like Hillary, you stuck it out to the end and beyond. When everyone said shut up, you raised your voices louder. When Democracy was threatened you stood up in its defense. You have a lot to be proud of, and I am proud to call you my sisters and brothers in arms.

History has a way of repeating itself. Some fail to study the journey of the past, often with disastrous consequences. Then there are those who look at the past, absorb it, and set themselves to the task of shifting the course of human events to alter the outcome, to advance and elevate the path of society. Even so, history does have a way of repeating itself.

In 1840 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott traveled to England to attend an abolitionist convention in London. Being shut out, due to their gender, they found each other on the street and agreed that a convention must be held to address the economic and political needs of women. That convention was held 160 years ago in Seneca Falls, New York. Three hundred-eighty women and men gathered to begin a conversation that changed the course of human events. The first wave of feminism was born with the words, “All men and all women are created equal.”

By 1912 that convention of 380 had grown exponentially. Women rose up for their rights in the work place, and for their right to vote. At the 1912 New York City March for Suffrage some 20,000 people marched. A reported half million lined the streets. The movement continued to grow, and once the challenge of gaining suffrage was accomplished, the fight for equality and women’s rights went on.

One hundred forty-seven years after Seneca Falls, then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, went to Beijing to address an international women's conference themed, "Listen to the Women." In a singular act of bravery, and at great political and personal risk, Hillary Clinton, standing on the shoulders of Stanton, Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Lemlich, Alice Paul, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others too many to name, changed the course of the conversation of the women’s movement forever. Before this international gathering of women leaders Hillary Clinton gave birth to what I consider to be the fourth wave of feminism with the following words:

It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.

It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution for human greed -- and the kinds of reasons that are used to justify this practice should no longer be tolerated.

It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire, and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.

It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.

It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes by their own relatives.

It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.

It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.

If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely -- and the right to be heard.

Women must enjoy the rights to participate fully in the social and political lives of their countries, if we want freedom and democracy to thrive and endure.

Freedom means the right of people to assemble, organize, and debate openly. It means respecting the views of those who may disagree with the views of their governments. It means not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions.

That speech was heard around the world and inspired the international women’s movement. But American society is still trying to catch up to where Hillary has been for thirteen years. She was ahead of the curve as usual. Hillary planted the seed for the fourth wave of feminism; the wave that says this is not simply an issue about women. It is about all people. The seed has grown to a tree. The tree has born fruit. That fruit is us.

About 18 months ago Senator Clinton asked us to engage in a new conversation when she began her historic campaign for the Presidency of the United States. Joining the ranks of Victoria Woodhull, Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun, and many others, she set out to smash what she has called, “…the highest and hardest glass ceiling.”

She made history by being the first woman candidate to win a Presidential primary. She made history by winning more congressional districts and counties than any candidate in the 2008 Democratic Party Primaries. She made history by garnering more primary votes than any candidate in the history of the Democratic Party. And had the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee seated the Michigan and Florida delegations at full strength, and with fair reflection of the votes cast in those states, she would have finished the primary season with more pledged delegates. And those who failed to understand the lessons of history once again tried to prevent a woman from taking her rightful place at the Convention. Fortunately, we learned those lessons, and took action to make sure that history was not repeated.

It is obvious, to all who are paying attention, that the coup we witnessed this year was not simply directed at Senator Clinton. It was directed at us. It was directed at Democracy. When delegates can be stripped from one candidate given to another, whose name did not even appear on a ballot, then my friends, all we hold sacred as Americans is in jeopardy. It is not going to be enough to resist. It is not going to be enough to just say no deal. If we walk away from this at the end of the 2008 election cycle and the people who brought us this fiasco; Leah Daughtry, Alexis Herman, Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and the rest of the junta are still in power at the DNC when the smoke clears, then The Democratic Party will remain a poisoned tree that will only deliver bitter fruit. And what will we do about it? Voting Republican and staying home are not viable options moving forward from 2008.

Where do we begin then? We can start by continuing to support the agenda that we fought for with Senator Clinton: universal healthcare, the green economy, the accessibility and affordability of a college education, the advancement of human rights, and the defense of equal rights. Not as platitudes to get elected, but solutions to the pressing issues that face our nation, and our world. We can support the work of Hill Pac, which is currently circulating a petition in defense of family planning. We can support Hillary in the Senate, or whichever office she may hold, by lobbying our elected officials to support legislation she is sponsoring. We can support the National Women’s History Museum in its effort to find a permanent home in our nation’s capital so that there is a place dedicated to telling the unique story of women in America. Most importantly, we must strengthen our political voice. We are not here because we’re sore losers. We are not here because we’re bitter. We are here because we are clinging. Clinging, with all the strength we have left to all we hold dear about this country.

We deserve a party that will not violate the most sacred codes that we honor and hold dear as Americans, and I say here and now that if the Democratic Party will not uphold those values then perhaps the time has come to break from that party and start anew. We will not let Democracy die at Invesco Field. We must eject the anti-democratic cabal from the DNC, or be prepared to build a new party out of the Democratic Party’s ashes: A party that stands unequivocally for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
A party that stands unequivocally for gay marriage and the equal protection of all people regardless of the color of their skin, religion, sexual orientation, age, economic status, or gender.
We deserve a party that stands for universal healthcare; a party that stands for the separation of church and state; a party that stands for our right to privacy and doesn’t sell it to complicit telecom companies; a party that stands for one person, one vote.

This road will not be easy. We have been called enemies. We have been threatened. Those who oppose us have tried to break our spirit, our will, and our determination, but will not be turned back. We will not be stalled. We will not be cowed, and we will not be broken. To paraphrase the oft quoted Susan B. Anthony; no self respecting American should wish or work for the success of a party which ignores them. We will not be enslaved.

The Mahatma once said, “How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done.”

We will not do the master’s bidding. We have lived with this for too long. Hillary showed us what it means to stand and fight for what one believes in. Now it is time for us to rise.


Virginia Harris said...

This is a great post! Thank you!

I'd like to share a women's history learning opportunity...

Senator Clinton and Governor Pain are proof that women can and do diverge on important issues.

Thanks to the success of the suffragettes, women can support the candidtes they choose - left, right, in-between or GREEN!

But most people are totally in the dark about HOW the suffragettes won votes for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did.

Suffragettes were opposed by many women who were what was known as 'anti.'

The most influential 'anti' lived in the White House. First Lady Edith Wilson was a wealthy Washington widow, who married President Wilson in 1915.

Her role in Wilson's decision to jail and torture Alice Paul and hundreds of other Suffragettes will never be fully known, but she was outraged that these women picketed her husband's White House

"The Privilege of Voting" is a new free e-mail series that follows eight great women from 1912 - 1920 to reveal ALL that happened to set the stage for women to win the vote. It's a real-life soap opera!

Suffragettes Alice Paul and Emmeline Pankhurst are featured, along with TWO gorgeous presidential mistresses, First Lady Edith Wilson, Edith Wharton, Isadora Duncan and Alice Roosevelt.

There are tons of heartache on the rocky road to the ballot box, but in the end, women WIN!

Exciting, sequential 10-minute e-mail episodes are perfect for coffeebreaks, or anytime.

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Shtuey said...

Thank you Virginia for your kind words and valuable lesson. As we've seen with Naughty Nazi Nancy Pelosi this year, women in power are still sometimes obstructionists when it comes to advancing women. In Nancy's case I believe it was a dislike of Senator Clinton, and a desire to remain the most powerful woman in Washington that motivated her to join the clamor for Hillary to drop out of the race.

While in Denver, one of my compatriots turned me on to an HBO film on the subject titled "Iron Jawed Angels."

point to note, I edited suffragettes to suffragists. Though suffragettes was the term used in Britain to denote women agitating for the right to vote, it was used pejoratiively in the United States to belittle and dismiss the suffrage movement. If the media's handling of the 2008 Democratic Primaries, and the renewed sexist remarks directed at Sarah Palin are any indication, women, and their supporters, still have a long row to hoe.

Thank you again Virginia for speaking out for women's rights. There are more than a few good men standing with you.