Some people swear by Downton Abbey. Others are yawning and wondering if the series will take on more life than reruns of the same themes, issues and personalities. Like the novelty of the chauffeur marrying into the family has worn off, and the family is adjusting, though slowly, to the end of a way of life. That’s why I found the following article refreshing and worth sharing, even if the link has been sitting on my desk since January.
What happens after Downtown Abbey, the article asks. Writer Alyssa Rosenberg isn’t interested in breathing life into the Downtown Abbey cast. She’s suggesting that the family be replaced with some real-life characters, and I love her suggestions. How about the Pankhurst family of suffragettes in England or the Mitfords? Rosenberg lists the reasons why.
What did one cherub say to the other one in this thumbnail image? They’re whispering, so it’s not easy to listen. But let’s try anyway. One cherub’s asking the other: “What do we have to do to shake a substantial commitment out of New York State for the state suffrage centennial in 2017 that gets the same attention and excitement as the funding of ads for wineries and white water rafting?” The other cherub responds: “How about a sloop called the Susan B. Anthony that sails down the Hudson River and visits every port and school classroom? Would that get attention or what? If there are Clearwater and Woody Guthrie boats, how about Susan or Elizabeth or Alice or Carrie or Harriot or any one of a long list of candidates to represent the state’s rich women’s history?”
Where’s Pete Seeger when we need him? Toshi and Pete Seeger would say they modeled grassroots organizing for decades in New York’s Hudson Valley, so it’s our turn to get busy. Is voting important anyway? Many would say it’s an essential expression of our rights as citizens. Perhaps that’s what’s behind the numerous attempts to suppress voting nationwide. In any event, the suffrage movement represents the largest nonviolent social revolution in the U.S. Whenever I wrap my head around that fact, it shifts my awareness of the significance of keeping democracy alive, whatever’s left of it after big money dumped into political campaigns clears the stage.
So if you’re suspecting I’m growing anxious about the passage of precious time when New York should be busy planning its 2017 suffrage centennial, you’re right. There’s plenty of lip service spread around for women’s issues. And as the suffragists used to say, “deeds, not words” carry the day. Send us an email with your thoughts about how to get New York off of Ground Zero and busy planning its centennial. Send me your thoughts: suffragewagon at gmail.com
Looking forward to hearing from you as the Suffrage Wagon rolls on. Follow the wagon by way of email, Twitter and Facebook. And while you’re at it, visualize the State of New York putting the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon on permanent exhibit. It’s not doing any good gathering dust at a state museum warehouse near Albany, NY.