She was first.

    June 11, 2021

    “It’s Jeannette Rankin’s birthday! This exceptional Montanan was the first woman elected to Congress. Jeannette’s proud legacy of standing up for her beliefs has long served to inspire folks across our state, and will for years to come.”

    -Montana Senator Jon Tester

    “Suffrage activist from Missoula County, Montana, Rankin was elected Congresswoman for her home state in 1916, four years before the 19th Amendment.

    Thanks to the struggle of women like Rankin, Montana had abolished the sex-based franchise in 1914, making it the seventh US State to do so.

    With the help of the political allies she had made campaigning for suffrage, Rankin was then elected to the House of Representatives on the progressive wing of the Republican Party.

    This made Rankin the first woman in the history of the US Congress. 

    But, while there was now one Congresswoman, there were still millions of American women legally voteless.

    It wasn’t until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920 that women across America were given the right to vote. 

    So, with work left to be done, Rankin used her new position in Congress to at last drive through a constitutional amendment enfranchising women.

    She was the one who first put forward what became the 19th Amendment – the ultimate triumph of her movement.

    But suffrage was not the only thing on Rankin’s agenda. The late 1910s were not, after all, a quiet time in US political history…

    In April 1917, Woodrow Wilson summoned Congress to an extraordinary session so that he could get the US to declare war on Germany and join the conflict in Europe.

    Jeannette Rankin was one of only 50 members of Congress to vote against Wilson. A devout pacifist, she would not support America entering WW1.

    Singled out for disproportionate abuse by the pro-war lobby, Rankin got support from the radical movement which was then mobilizing against the war. Figures like Fiorello LaGuardia and fellow suffrage fighter, Alice Paul, (my s-hero) backed Rankin.

    On 8 December 1941, to a chorus of heckles, she was the only member of congress to vote against declaring war on Japan, saying, “as a woman I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.”

    Whilst many credentialed radicals did criticize Rankin’s failure to appreciate the unique nature of WW2 as a war which needed to be fought against fascism and genocide, the subsequent hounding and denunciation of her in the US press was unconscionable.

    Her political reputation left in tatters, Rankin declined to run again in 1942.

    But she lived a long life after the Second World War – long enough to return to radical fame as an elder in the struggle against the US invasion of Vietnam in the 1960s and ‘70s.

    In January 1968, when she was 87 years old, Jeannette Rankin marched through D.C. at the head of 5,000 women protesting against the Vietnam War.” Right on.

    -Pete, Radical Tea Towel 

    Today at the G7, Boris Johnson:

    think that is what the people of our countries now want us to focus on. They want us to be sure that we are beating the pandemic together and discussing how we will never have a repeat of what we have seen but also that we are building back better together,’ he said.

    ‘Building back greener and building back fairer and building back more equal and, how shall I, in a more gender neutral and, perhaps a more feminine way. (Yep.)

    The Eagle and the Condor prophecy of the Amazon speaks of long ago when human societies split into two different paths—that of the Eagle and that of the Condor. The path of the Condor is the path of heart, of intuition, and of the feminine. The path of the Eagle is the path of the mind, of the industrial, and of the masculine. []

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