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Friday, November 2, 2012

One Woman, One Voice, One Vote

           Last month, as I was trying to decide on a blog post (John Lennon’s birthday, buying a mouse trap), a priest’s politically-charged homily got my writing juices flowing in a totally different direction.  Erudite emails erupted, instead.
 Imagine my surprise when a friend (a writer) commented that she hoped the emails would make a difference but doubted they would.  True, Archbishop Chaput’s response was the party line I expected, but her comments, more than his, took me aback.
            My very first Letter to the Editor was published when I was 14 years old.  I did not even know until my religion teacher showed it to me.  “Teen Defends Superstar Album” read the headline on the editorial page of the Catholic Standard and Times.  My opinion in print:  my voice mattered.
            So began a lifetime of speaking – and writing – my mind.  When the Philadelphia Inquirer waxed nostalgic about sneakers dangling from wires in Philly neighborhoods, I set them straight:  “Girls Were Sneaker-Tossers, Too.”  Mine dangled brazenly over my Olney neighborhood for quite a few years.
            Ever since my eighteenth birthday, I have voted in every election: another way to be heard. I remember telling – not asking – one of my first bosses that I would not be at work because I was marching in Washington to support the Equal Rights Amendment.  Somewhere in that crowd were Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, and Bella Abzug, to name a few.  No one may have noticed me, but I was proud to unite my voice with theirs.
            When a local political party boss chastised that I’d better change my party affiliation if I wanted to do any work in my county, I wrote to the freeholder director asking if this was county policy.  Though he did not respond “on the record,” he did call me to assure me that it was not county policy.  (As an aside, I never changed my political affiliation, that party boss and I became good friends, and I even got county work every once in awhile).
            I have written to congresspersons, senators, POTUS.  I have written to my professional organization.  I “Spout Off” in my community paper.  I blog.  I vote.  I often do not know if my voice makes a difference.  I do know that saying nothing makes no difference at all.
So, as long as I have something to say, I will say it.
            And that makes a difference to me.
Tuesday, November 6 is Election Day.  Make your voice heard.  Make a difference. Vote.


  1. So many peoples throughout the world are STILL fighting and dying for the right to vote. And let's not forget the brave American women who fought right here for the women's right to vote. So I am in total grateful for that privilege and get out there and do it! :)

  2. Mary, I love learning the history of your speaking up-and laughed out loud that you are one of the voices in the local paper who "spouts off"
    Your reminder
    "I do know saying nothing makes no difference at all"
    is reason all by itself to vote or speak up, even if we wonder if our one voice makes a difference

  3. You go girl!

    1. My name got messed up - Julie V

  4. Mary,

    I've heard that Cardinal Chaput personally responds to every email, but that he's not particularly interested in constructive feedback. Not surprised at your experience. Your voice was heard and that matters.

    I did some phone calling for my candidate recently and was disappointed that a few people I talked to -- both women -- admitted to me that they don't vote, ever. I was shocked, believing as others above, that our right to vote was so hard won, how can you give up on it?


  5. Mary, I love your post and admire your outspokenness (is that a word?). What's sad in this election is how powerful the forces are who want to make voting difficult for those in poorer and/or minority districts. Actually, this is nothing new in American politics, but it seems to be getting to the point where this year, the Obama campaign sees the need to have over 1,200 attorneys - 1,200! - standing by at poling places to ensure voters do not get turned away! If voting were only as easy as legally buying a gun.

    1. Wow Libby, your comparison between voting and buying a gun really puts how we value/what we value into scary perspective