Friday, August 27, 2010

Women's Suffrage and Leaf Quilt

I decided early on to not talk about politics on this blog. We are in an election year, however, and I have my opinions. In my life, I have voted for the Republican for governor four times and the Democrat four times. This year, I'll be voting for the Republican. For Congress, I'll either vote for the Green party candidate or I'll write in the name of the person who I think should hold the seat. My problem is that my local congressman has held the seat since the mid-1950s, and he got it from his daddy, who held it for 20 years before that. I have never voted for a Republican for President, but I didn't vote for the Democrat in 2000 (I am proud to have voted for the Green Party candidate that year).

 (I got the photo from the Library of Congress website. To see more photos, please go to that site.)

One hundred years ago, a woman my age would not have been able to make the kinds of statements I just made. There was a long, hard battle to win women the right to vote in this country, and if you are not familiar with that history, I suggest you check this website as a good starting point. For ninety years, women all across this country have had the right to vote in every election. With the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, this franchise was emphatically extended for all women. This summer, we've had primaries across this country in which the turnout has been around 20-30 percent. The primaries are where the parties sort out their contenders and pick those who will be on the November ballot. These small turnouts don't make sense to me and have never made sense to me. So many of our ancestors longed to have the right to choose their leaders; we have that right, and we don't always exercise it. Whatever your political persuasion, please learn about the candidates in your area and get out and vote. If you think I'm wrong, vote against me. That's what it means to be an adult in a democracy. So there.

On the general theme of women's roles in the world, you really must read The Yarn Harlot's posting of August 25. She's talking about getting our priorities and our language straight, both in the home and in the world.

Now, for some craft news. Sarah had asked if the leaf quilt were appliqué, and it is. We were experimenting with different stitches and different settings of those stitches on our machines. By the way, this was in a class taught by the wonderful Jane Sassaman, who got stuck with a student like me who doesn't like to follow directions. Here is a close-up of the quilt where you can see the stitch variations on the leaves, sort of.
Have a nice weekend, everyone!


Sarah {The Student Knitter} said...

I totally agree with much of what you said! I'm a Canadian living in the states, so that excludes me from voting here. If I were motivated enough I could still vote back home, but I've been in the states for almost 10 years now and we just don't get the kind of news I would need to keep current.

I was just having a discussion with some girls at school yesterday about political things. I'm really REALLY not a fan of the two party system and voting in primaries seems to play in to that whole idea. Do you need to be a registered republican or democrat to vote in the primaries?

Thanks for answering my questions too! I'm sure applique is in my future. I look forward to learning more! :)

Liz in Ypsilanti said...

The rules about voting in primaries vary from state to state. In Michigan, you can only vote in one party's primary or the other, but you don't have to be registered with the party. In fact, you get a ballot with both parties' candidates, and you simply stay on one side of the ballot or the other. In the presidential primary in January, 2008, you had to tell the election clerk which party you preferred. In some elections, I vote in one party's primary; in others, I vote in the other party's. My rule is that I pick the candidates I would most like to see win the general election, then vote the party ballot that has more of those candidates. In other words, if I really like the senate and house candidates in Party X, but the candidates in the downticket races are more interesting in Party Y, I'd probably vote in Party Y. Does that make sense? Technically, I think I'm registered as a Democrat, but in the general election, I have voted for candidates from four or five parties.

pip said...

you're right... we really should use our votes! ... having grown up in belfast i've spent most of my life avoiding anything political.... Great blog :)

Laura said...

The quilt is stunning. I especially love the movement in the quilting, the way it evokes autumn leaves scurrying in the wind. What a work of art!