165 years ago this week, specifically on July 19 and 20, the momentous event known as the Seneca Falls Convention took place in upstate New York.
300 men and women gathered, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, and including the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, demanding equal rights for women, including the right of suffrage, participating in voting.
That fight for suffrage took 72 years, until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, and the move for the Equal Rights Amendment proposal of 1972 fell short by three states, and was declared dead in 1982.
But now there is an urgency to fight for that proposed amendment, despite the odds against it being ratified in the political climate we live in now, if for no other reason than to declare that the strategy of the future is that women are not going to allow backtracking on basic rights that have now been the law for years, specifically the Roe V. Wade decision on Abortion Rights forty years ago, plus the push for equal pay, equal treatment in the military, fighting against acceptance of rape by many politicians of the Republican Party, and the Religious Right desire to send women back home, not working, cooking and being available for a man’s desires in the bedroom!
There may be women who are willing to accept the Republican view on women in 2013, but they are NOT a majority, and if Betty Ford, the First Lady with President Gerald Ford, were alive and well today, she would be leading the fight for women’s rights, as she did when she was in the White House!
Having visited the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids yesterday, it reminded the author of how far the GOP has moved from the Ford Presidency experience, and remember that turn to the right began when Ronald Reagan challenged President Ford for the Presidential nomination in 1976, helping to cause his defeat, and the ultimate takeover of the Republican Party by the Right Wing led by Reagan!
So women, and men who agree that they deserve equal treatment, need to organize and fight for women’s rights, even now, 165 years after Seneca Falls!