Big change doesn’t happen overnight. That’s a reality that we need to come to grips with. Big, lasting change can take years, decades even, to take hold and gain enough widespread support to become entrenched.
There are a lot of reasons real, lasting change takes so long. First and foremost, as I noted yesterday, its a lot easier to change laws than it is minds. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 changed the law, but minds were lagging. From a purely political perspective, this change turned the Solid South from a Democratic enclave to a huge toss-up in the wake of this change. But despite this political condition, I think there are few people who would do it differently now.
From my perspective, it was more important to be right than to genuflect to a group who sought to maintain an unequal status quo. Its interesting that even though the Republican Party employed the Southern Strategy to gain favor with Southern whites in the wake of these landmark legislative moves, they never really overturned either the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act. To do so would have rendered their successful strategy moot.
It took nearly 145 years from the signing of the Declaration of Independence and over 70 years from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 to gain enough momentum for the 19th Amendment to pass. But through dedication and resolve, pass it did, thanks to the vote of the Tennessee Legislature 90 years ago. While many saw the potential for women’s suffrage as an end to the white male dominated power structure of the past, this hasn’t really come to pass.
Currently, only 17% of the seats in Congress are held by women, despite being over 50% of the population. And while women have made great strides in the years since the passage of the 19th Amendment, the United States still lags behind our European counterparts when looking at the percentage of women in elected positions in government.
Laws do change faster than minds.
Today, at the Memphis City Hall, there will be a celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment at 4pm. If you have some time, stop by and honor the women and men that worked hard to gain women the right to vote. Even if you don’t have time, take a moment to think about the next big change and the challenges that this change brings. Then resolve yourself to stay vigilant and fight for that change. As Mahatma Gandhi noted, “Justice does not help those who slumber but helps only those who are vigilant.”
On to the Coffee…
Speaking of courage, Wendi Thomas has some thoughts on the subject.
Jackson Baker talks to Jim Kyle on partisanship and primaries.
The Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the Memphis v. Memphis City Schools funding case. Here’s coverage from the Memphis Daily News, the Commercial Appeal, and our very own LeftWingCracker.
Ok, have fun out there. Looks like it’s gonna be a nice day for a celebration.