Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"New Legislation, Baby!"

Hahahahaha, this is like video of the year. There is no way this can be topped. Today's blog will be explaining the awesomeness that is this "Bad Romance" music video re-creation/parody that focuses on Women's Suffrage.

Googling these past few days, I've seen people say things like "The more you understand the Women's suffrage movement, the more awesome this is..." It's really wonderful in it's simplicity, yet entertainment value. It contains a lot, without being pushy about the information (like Math-raps tend to be.) So let's break this song down for anyone curious what the individual elements mean:

First, we have our star: Alice Paul - real Suffragette and activist of the early 20th century. Compatriot of Susan B. Anthony herself. After Susan B. Anthony's death, she lead the crusade for equality that resulted in the 19th Amendment. She is the Lady Gaga character, and is played by Meredith Garrison. Most of the other characters in this video are representatives of people in general and not based on any one person, with few exceptions.

Woodrow Wilson - Pondering.

President Woodrow Wilson is featured briefly, often pondering. His opinion on women's suffrage changed over time, so it makes sense that this starts with people protesting outside his White House (btw: I love the sets in this video!) and finishing with him smirking.

But by far, my favorite of the real life characters is Harry Burn (played by Tripp Hamilton) because of the True story portrayed! (Social Studies crash course: to pass an Amendment to the Constitution, Congress must approve, and then 2/3rds of the State Legislatures most approve it.) Well young Harry Burn - elected at 22 - was in 1919 was the youngest member in the history of the Tennessee State Legislature. After passing Congress, the 19th Amendment only needed one more state to ratify it to become law -- and Tennessee literally came down to a tie vote.

Note the red flowers, and symbolism in the ties!

Supporters of suffrage made themselves apparent by wearing yellow flowers on their lapel, and opponents wore red roses. Well young Harry Burn was an opponent, and the flowers are actually in the Bad Romance parody. He had voted against it in some initial test votes that made it seem as if it would fail. But on the day of the final vote, he had received a letter from his mother (sent before the initial test vote.)

Because of the letter, because of his mother, despite his political leanings he voted in favor and Women Suffrage became law! He later said that "a good boy always does what his mother asks him to do."

Mrs. Burns - Harry's Mom, who we really have to thank.
Some other references: "They just passed the 15th..." is a reference to the 15th Amendment, legalizing African Americans' right to vote. "Just" is a bit of a stretch, try 40 years earlier.

At one point ("New Legislation, Baby!") they even say most of the wording of the 19th Amendment itself, and I think from here on it will be ingrained in my brain. I love videos like that that I can't help but watch a million times. Some things in history just make the hair on my neck stand up with a proudness in my country I can't describe, and watching the ending of this video is one of those things!

At one point, Alice says "Remember the Ladies..." - this is a reference to future-First Lady Abigail Adams' letter to her husband future-President John Adams, while he was helping make the decisions that would form the United States at the Continental Congress. She asked that in the formation of this new country, women's rights be addressed in a way never before so done by "his ancestors." Abigail Adams is all around awesome.

As this is the Song of the Day, here is a link to the lyrics!

Quote of the Day: 
"Comme dirait le Français:
c'est Démocratie!
Permettez-moi participer!"
[As the French would say:
This is Democracy!
Let me participate!]

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