I’ve never thought of myself as a “blog” person but I’m glad I’ve become one. I like sharing my thoughts and having to synthesize them into a relatively coherent whole. I’m not a writer but it seems that this format affords the dabbler some latitude.
I visited the Workhouse jail in Lorton VA this past Saturday. There’s a tiny museum there, housed in one of the long brick buildings that make up the place. When I went in to learn some history, what struck me were the stories of the Suffragettes who picketed in front of the Whitehouse, in the early part of the nineteenth century. They were cited for blocking the sidewalks and thrown into the Lorton Workhouse for three days. Some of these women returned to Lorton many times. They went on hunger strikes, and when they refused to open their mouths to be force fed, rubber tubes would be shoved up into their noses and liquid siphoned through the tubes. An on-site diorama with manikins illustrates this form of torture.
All these women wanted to do was to vote. They wanted to be heard, and they wanted to participate in making decisions that deeply affected their socioeconomic, political, and personal lives. Giving the vote to women was a new idea in this country. What is it about change that scares some of us so much that we have to shut it down? If it’s different, it must be bad.
These women never gave up. Why not? What is it in us that can keep us going in spite of how hard it can get? The pieces I made called “Pushover” can be shoved and they’ll come right back up for more. I want to elaborate on this idea. It’s not simply a matter of coming back up. These women (and men!) started a movement. And of course the rest is history.