By Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Gretchen Long, trustee emeritus, National Parks Conservation Ass. - 05/21/08 04:47 PM EDT
This summer we celebrate the 160th anniversary of the first Women’s Rights Convention. As we approach this noteworthy milestone, Congress has an opportunity to pass the National Women’s Rights History Project Act, legislation that would preserve the history of the women’s rights movement by honoring those who paved the way for future generations, and whose efforts continue to inspire us today.
In 1848, the women of New York state could not vote, and married women were not allowed to own property. Still, New York was regarded as generally progressive when it came to women’s empowerment. On July 19, 1848, the first Women’s Rights Convention took place in Seneca Falls, with an estimated 300 men and women attending. The Declaration of Sentiments, produced and signed by 100 participants, called for women’s suffrage, as well as other economic and political rights.
Having an electrifying impact on American society, the Seneca Falls gathering didn’t simply give birth to the women’s rights crusade; it was the “Lexington and Concord” of the movement.
Today, Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls recognizes this significant moment in American history. It is one of seven National Park sites throughout the country that offers an opportunity for visitors to learn about individuals who played a key role in establishing women’s rights. In telling this story of our great nation, these park sites commemorate advances made in education, economic and social welfare, property rights, family life, and the right to vote.
To pay tribute to the historical significance of the women’s rights movement, we ask that Congress pass the National Women’s Rights History Project Act, H.R. 3114. This legislation would significantly enhance the preservation and appreciation of women’s history in our country by establishing a commemorative trail in connection with Women’s Rights National Historical Park. This important women’s suffrage trail would help link individual park sites, as well as other public and privately owned sites in New York that are both historically and thematically associated with the early struggle for women’s suffrage, including Susan B. Anthony’s house in Rochester.
The invaluable history of women’s suffrage deserves to be protected, preserved, and interpreted to inspire current and future generations of young people. This legislation will truly enhance the way National Park visitors and all Americans can experience the struggle for women’s rights.
Gen. Clark for veep
From Denny Freidenrich, First Strategies LLC
Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) best choice for a running mate is Gen. Wesley Clark. Clark was my pick for president in 2004, and what I liked about him four years ago still resonates with me today.
First, as the former NATO supreme allied commander, Clark knows how to deal with America’s adversaries. When it comes to fighting international terrorism, few people in politics (or at the Pentagon) today have the military credentials the retired Army general has.
Second, because he is from Arkansas, Clark will inspire blue-collar, lower-income whites in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere to vote for Obama.
And last, as a key Clinton insider, Clark’s presence on the ticket will send an unmistakable message to millions of Democrats who, today, say they might not vote this fall. In its simplest form, that message is one of party unity.
Four years ago, I was ready to become one of Clark’s foot soldiers in his march from Little Rock to Washington. Unfortunately, by the time his campaign found its bearings, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire already had spoken, reducing the former NATO commander to an asterisk in 2004.
Not this time.
America’s responsibilities in the Middle East, Europe and Asia require a delicate balance of military strength and political will. Some people argue that these two strategies are mutually exclusive. I don’t buy that. I see Clark as the one person who can best help the Democratic Party and the country’s new president straddle this elusive divide.
Laguna Beach, Calif.