Politics and Persons
By MRS. ELIZABETH GRINNELL
My friends know that I was never an active worker in the cause of woman's suffrage; in fact, was quite inactive, declining to sign my name with the rest in petitions to the legislature. I know now that my reasons were considered insufficient and that I lost some friendships by it.
I feared that the altered customs would lessen woman's interest in the nearest home duties; that is, it might affect even those women who were not property owners or not yet naturally inclined to do the right thing in politics. Again, I feared that she would grow mannish instead of manly, with a sort of coarser "[hybrid]' nature grafted to the gentler original stock. The thought of it all was repulsive, for if I love anything in the world, it is the gentle-bred woman. She must be strong with her gentleness not hurt any cause she would espouse. Nor were my fears quite justifiable! I was wrong only in the supposition that ALL women would be changed. As I see them now, under the new conditions and privileges, only a few in active campaign work are otherwise then womanly. Most carry with them a strong personality and modest dress, with a certain winning quality of irresistible charm. Only a very, very few have been known to speak loudly in the halls, and scarce a single one to make demonstrations with the hands and arms to emphasize a sentiment.
When the greatest, yet most modest, of American women took up the new arms in her long battle for the rights of children and women my whole heart was won. It was Jane Addams, the prophetess of unrelenting fervor, who lead me into the light. We read of Deborah, that earlier heroine for the right, who commanded Barak, the fighting statesman, to "go to his duty," and of his reply to the leading woman of the land, "If thou wilt go with me, then I will go." And she said, "I will surely go with thee!" Oh, that story is worth reading, if one appreciates real humor and pathos, and the song of victory from a woman's pen in the end! (It may be found in the book of Judges.) Yes, it was Jane Addams who bought my vote for her party with the gold coin of Truth's immutable realm.
And so I am one of the progressives, women of Pasadena! Let who will charge Mr. Roosevelt with what they will charge, it is he who is listening (aloud) to the cry of a lost child and the helpless appeal of its mother. He will send Jane Addams, she representing the motherhood of America, to find the lost children. After her long waiting and working it shall be hers to group these weary little ones about our nation's capitol in an unbroken company, and to bid them "play in eternal sunshine," no more to work in the noisome sweatshop nor waste away in the soulless factory.
And Jane Addams shall take the big sister safely past the deep, dark corner at the foot of Life's stairs! Remember it?--that deep, dark eaves-places at the foot of the stairs, away back in New England, where untold horrors lurked to catch our little feet as we ran past? It only needed the lighted candle to scare away the horrors. It is Theodore Roosevelt who has placed the lighted candle in the hand of Jane Addams, the faithful. Go on, our Deborah! and may the expression of they face be so stamped upon the thought of mothers and the big little sisters to come, that that their babes shall bear the likeness of thy [liniments], and their minds the impress of thy character!
And so it is that I do endorse the progressive republican ticket all the way! (With just a word of remembrance in honor of our own Charlie Bell: for let not our own women forget that it was largely by his effort it was made possible for us to march under the banner of our Deborah.)
Yet, I have but words of appreciation for the candidates of other parties. Far be it from me to ridicule or belittle. Are they not the choice of men and women as truly conscientious as myself? All are noble and all are our fellow citizens. How good it would be to have Mr. Taft and Governor Wilson and Mr. Debs come and live in Pasadena, after the election of Mr. Roosevelt. I am sure they and their families would make good neighbors. No doubt they would themselves be voted into the Twilight club on first ballot, and what greater honor could they wish!
On election day let us, the women of Pasadena, be true to the best (Mr. Roosevelt) as well as to the good (the other presidential candidates). May we cast our votes with a prayer on our lips for the speedy liberation of bond children and bond mothers. It is the one sacred time where first duty may claim the precedence over the dictation of father, brother, or husband, and they not know. The booth is the holy of holiest for women. Its privacy shall shut out questions and answers.
"And God made man in his own image." Lucky day for man when his Creator was convinced that he would be unable to govern even himself alone through the long lines of ages. And so it is that Theodore Roosevelt has called into the field our Deborah. A composite picture of the two shall show a face of gentler strength than has appeared before, and an incentive to action, which shall place America above the other nations in all that lifts man and woman kind above the base.