“Free” and “fair”

Hi Dad,

I think we’re having a problem with semantics: You say that the right to vote was “free and fair” when it was given to women by men. But you also agree that the ratification of the 19th Amendment was the culmination of a long and difficult fight for equality.

As I pointed out, women were ridiculed, imprisoned and force-fed for asking for the right to vote, this by their government. Is it really free if it takes 70 years of protests to attain it? If I bake you a cake and say, “It’s free! But first I need you to clean my room and make me dinner,” you’d probably say that’s not free at all.

Second, both you and Tammy Bruce seem to believe that men deserve some sort of praise for the 19th Amendment. But it’s preposterous to demand praise for something that should have been in place to begin with. A voice in one’s government is a basic right of a citizen. It was shameful that women didn’t have it before, but I’m not going to thank men for a right that I should have had in the first place.

Another hypothetical: Remember the blocks my brother and I used to play with as kids? Imagine if I claimed those blocks all as my own, and said he couldn’t have them. Imagine he screams, cries, stages a protest, writes multiple well-reasoned letters to the newspaper, begs for you to intercede. For months, I refuse to let him play with the blocks. They’re mine. If, eventually, I decide to share, do I deserve to be rewarded for “freely and fairly” giving him the blocks? Absolutely not! They were his blocks too. I just kept them from him. There was nothing free or fair about it.

And that’s the problem I have with your argument.



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