The 2020 we anticipated was not the 2020 we got. We anticipated that the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment would bring celebratory gatherings, rallies and parades. We worked for years – writing articles, publishing books, marching in parades, waving our placards and raising our voices. Instead, 2020 brought us isolation, fear and loss. Celebration of the milestone was far from the first thing on most people’s minds, nor should it have been. Priorities shift; change comes unbidden; life has its way.
But, amazingly, celebration of the 19th Amendment came in a different form – in the form of the largest voter turnout in our nation’s history. Whether the results of the election brought you joy or disappointment, we can all share in a success of a different kind. The problem of voter apathy that we usually complain about after an election was nowhere to be found. Both men and women waited in long lines, sometimes in the cold and rain to have their voices heard. The work of our foremothers – the marches, writings, speeches and suffering of their time – was not in vain. Since 1980 women have voted in greater numbers than men, and their voices are undoubtedly being heard. And while there are still conflicts to resolve we are imbued by this success with a cautious optimism that resolutions can be found if everyone plays his or her part.
We discovered we don’t really need rallies and pageants to celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The line of men and women at the polls was the best parade we could have ever had.