WELL, THAT HAPPENED: Dogs over democracy?

By on September 1, 2015

Women get overlooked for national pup day

October 1915: More than 25,000 women marched in a suffrage parade in NYC. August 2015: National Dog Day outshined  the ladies. (Photo: New York Historical Society)

October 1915: More than 25,000 women marched in a suffrage parade in NYC. August 2015: National Dog Day outshined the ladies. (Photo: New York Historical Society)

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Last Wednesday, two national “holidays” occurred. If you missed them, you’re not alone. But, if you happen to be addicted to the internet like I am, you probably noticed a flurry of cute canine pictures and Facebook posts saying things like “Eight years ago, Baxter came into my life at a time when my soul was broken.” That’s all well and good—who doesn’t love a good dog homage?—but the other holiday sat as far second place as Dr. Ben Carson.

This year’s National Women’s Equality Day celebrated 95 years of women having the vote. On August 26, 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified, which gave women the right to vote. In 1971, U.S. Congress designated the holiday and every year since, the sitting president has honored the women of this country. Last week in Obama’s proclamation, he summarized the struggles of American women, both through history and in contemporary time.

“I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate the achievements of women and promote gender equality in our country,” he said at the end of his speech.

After seeing more canines than suffragettes posted across Facebook and Twitter, I decided to post something the next day, telling my friends that Dog Day had sadly taken precedent over Women’s Equality Day. I had posted a picture of the “Petticoat Rulers,” Jackson’s first all-women’s town council that was sworn into office the same year the 19th Amendment passed. As I write this column, that post received 260 likes and 129 shares, and is my most successful Facebook post since I joined in 2006.

Now, I’m not patting myself on the back for bringing awareness to Grace Miller and her team of lady badasses, but it does surprise me that Women’s Equality Day evaded so many people. Our current 2015 political climate is wrought with injustice against women, most recently with the attacks against Planned Parenthood thanks to the “body parts” talking points provide by the good ole GOP. Rumors that the government is planning another shut down on grounds of protesting against Planned Parenthood funding are rampant. The rights of women are once again being put on the backburner.

“They tell you that there’s a war on women,” said second-place GOP candidate Carson. “There is no war on women. There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.”

The pro-life/pro-choice debate aside (which I place aside due to religious freedoms), there should be no reason why women aren’t sticking up for one another. Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, there was a strong sense of camaraderie among women as so many recognized the injustice they were facing.

In 1915, more than 25,000 women marched up Fifth Avenue making it the largest parade in New York City history at the time. The New York Times reported that if women received the right to vote, “they will play havoc for themselves and society.” They added: “granted the suffrage, they would demand all the rights that implies. It is not possible to think of women as soldiers and sailors, police patrolmen, or firemen.”

If women were to march against injustice again, I would eagerly join them. I’ve been told my column often has women at its focus. This is subconscious, of course, but perhaps I write about women and take an interest in them because I was raised by one of the strongest women I know. The women of my family have been beaten, cheated on, and have been drained of many tears, but have always emerged with their chins up, willing to face another day. While I do love dogs, my respect for women is unwavering, and my respect for this country is equally significant.

Imagine my glee when National Dog Day recently posted this on its website:

“NOTICE: Although we have been celebrating National Dog Day on August 26 for the last 11 years, this year it was brought to our attention that National Dog Day was drawing focus away from Women’s Equality Day and thus, out of respect for this extremely important day of recognition and observation for women’s rights everywhere, we are happy to permanently change the date of our celebration to August 31, to end the Dogs Days of Summer with a grand celebration.” PJH

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