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Keep Looking Happy

Janet Kuypers
8/26/19, the 1920 day the U.S.
19th Amendment was certified,
given women the right to vote

Women, in theory,
should feel pleased

when we win battles
for our rights.

So whatever women do,
you keep looking happy.

That’s what we women
have to do, in this

eternal uphill battle.

#

When this country
was founded,

it was land-owning
white men who voted.

Fifty years before we
women gained that right,

white men decided
that black men —

men once slaves, or
descendants of slaves,

black men once considered
three fifths of a person —

they got the right to vote
fifty years before us women.

#

I get it, I get it,
I shouldn’t be so

pessimistic —

I shouldn’t look
so negatively at battles

we’ve had to fight
so hard to win.

I shouldn’t think
that our only male

options to vote for,
they decide our fate —

they make personal
choices for us women

that we had the honor
to vote for...

#

and I understand,
we’ve come a long way,

baby —

we women once
couldn’t attend college,

even if we had
such a long history

of caring for your home,
your food, your children —

understanding finances
so much more explicitly

than you.

And yes, us women
are running for offices

while we’re still
so under-represented

and we still face
that uphill climb...

so yes, we’ll keep voting
(thank you for that honor)

because before you know it
we’ll have made some changes

that you didn’t see
coming, because really,

when we’re done,
you’ll see that laws

the rest of the world
agrees with, laws

that treating women
as equals —

that kind of treatment
isn’t so unreasonable

after all.


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