Trump's pardon for Susan B Anthony is a slap in the face to all American women

Even those white 'suburban housewives' he professes to love should be insulted

Jennifer Stavros
Tuesday 18 August 2020 19:16 BST
Trump to pardon Susan B Anthony over historic illegal voting conviction

This morning Trump announced a pardon for “a very special person.” The very special person was a female leader whose historically “rebellious” efforts helped pave the way for women to have the right to vote.

The 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment today was symbolic to many throughout the United States. However, it seems that, just like most everything with the country’s “beloved” spokesman-in-chief, it was merely a theatrical grab at the potential votes from white suburban housewives.

Stunts like this are slaps in the face to women and Americans like me who actually pay attention to history — and the internet is quite rightly fuming about it. Lt Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted her shared frustration shortly after the announcement this morning, stating: “As [the] highest-ranking woman elected official in New York and on behalf of Susan B. Anthony’s legacy we demand Trump rescind his pardon. She was proud of her arrest to draw attention to the cause for women’s rights, and never paid her fine. Let her Rest In Peace, @realDonaldTrump.”

Susan B Anthony would not have wanted the pardon as she did nothing that merited it. Pardons are supposed to be for crimes, not for actions someone knowingly embarked on in the pursuit of fundamental freedoms. The act of “pardoning” Susan B Anthony is therefore toxic, abusive, and a slap in the face to the whole women’s rights movement. It pushes a dangerous but deliberate narrative.

Trump’s platform is one that often likes to claim some alleged “high moral profile.” Docile, uneducated, subservient suburban white women tend to fit that profile. Trump knows this very well. He tweeted last week that “the suburban housewife will be voting for [him]”, only to days later pardon a woman who paved the way for women to vote in the first place. But Susan B Anthony was the antithesis of the “suburban housewife” Trump imagines when he tweets. And she did not need the 45th President to generously pardon her “crime”, which no one in their right mind would acknowledge was a crime in 2020 anyway.

Susan B Anthony would have very likely have been a protester if she were alive today. She was a fighter for freedom against a tyrannical and oppressive government. She would not have fallen into line with Trump’s voter base.

Indeed, it is with pure irony that our president decided to pardon the woman who said: "Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation.”

To the “suburban housewives” who Trump thinks he can win over with a tweet and an inconsequential pardon which does nothing for women today and goes against the legacy of the woman who received it, I say: wake up. The man in the White House doesn’t think highly of you at all. You are just a political pawn in his game. He expects you to be oblivious, and he expects you to be grateful for these scraps at the table. But I have faith that you are better than that — and so did Susan B Anthony.

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