Monday, October 27, 2008

The Ghost of Susan B. Anthony Exacts Her Revenge


So Mrs. Chaka and I decided to take advantage of early voting tonight. The polling place was open until 7:00 pm, so we had to eat dinner quickly in order to make it there in time. This derailed my plan to cook chicken this evening; instead, we had leftover soup from the freezer. I sighed and said to Mrs. Chaka, "If only one of us could go vote for the other. Matter of fact, it weren't for that pesky nineteenth amendment, I could go vote for both of us, and you could have dinner made for me when I get back."


This was a joke, you see. I don't actually believe the argument made by those old opponents of women's suffrage that the man votes on behalf of his entire household (even though my beloved Chesterton looked askance at women's suffrage). Unlike some of my fellow evangelical Christians, I make no defense of patriarchy, partly because I can see no good reason why defenders of patriarchy (or male headship/leadership) should be troubled by women being denied the vote. (Not that I've heard a real live person argue that they should be denied the vote. Of course, you can always find someone who believes anything on the internet. Sigh.) I have on my desk right now a picture of my great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Simon Klein, campaigning for women's suffrage in Chicago in 1915. I do most of the cooking. When we have children, I'm willing to be the one who stays home with the kids.


So it was a joke, you see. But the Ghost of Susan B. Anthony heard me mock the hard-fought victory of the suffragettes. She heard me wish that one vote could suffice for a household, and decided to teach me a lesson.


When we arrived at the polling place, the clerks could not find my registration. They found Mrs. Chaka's easily enough, but not mine. I felt that old familiar feeling settle on me; that combination of anger, disbelief, and frustration at Illinois finding new ways to suck. I was becoming Illinoyed. My name was misspelled in their database, you see. Moreover, I was listed as an inactive voter because they had sent me mail, and the mail had been returned. Possibly because my name was misspelled on it. The clerk gave me a number to call in the morning. He made no promises about their ability to sort it out before election day.


Did I mention that I discovered the misspelling when I voted in the primary back in February? And that I asked the election commission to correct it back in February?


But as much as I'd love to blame this god- and sense-forsaken state for disenfranchising me, I know who is really responsible. The Ghost of Susan B. Anthony watched with uncharacteristically undignified amusement as Mrs. Chaka cast her vote on behalf of our household.


Now the question is, what do I have to do to appease her spirit? I'd burn a bra, but I don't think she'd approve. (And snopes.com says that feminists never actually did that.) What do you think I should do?

3 comments:

Jonathan said...

You should spend only money with her picture on it for the next month as a sacrifice (of your sanity, dignity, and the pockets of your pants). In doing so, you will be rendering to Susan B. Anthony's what is Susan B. Anthony's and thus appeasing her troubled spirit.

Pirate Jimmy said...

You should've told them to look under C for Chaka right away, that would've solved all problems.

Chaka said...

Update: With virtually no hasselhoff, I was able to get the typo corrected and vote yesterday.

Though maybe I should still render unto Susan B. Anthony what is Susan B. Anthony's. Just to be absurd.