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Susan B. Anthony has a museum, a coin and a bridge. (Okay, half a bridge.)

Does she deserve a federal holiday, too?

Cynthia Benjamin of the Democrat and Chronicle urges women to campaign for one:

I can imagine a national observance that commemorates her achievements. A woman with a national holiday? I can imagine that. But it clearly will take more than imagination since no woman has a national holiday. The issue already was introduced to Congress several times unsuccessfully, said Deborah L. Hughes, president and CEO of the Susan B. Anthony House. She thinks a roadblock has been that Anthony’s birthday is in February, when there are other national observances, which can be a struggle for school districts.

I’d love to see Susan B. Anthony get a federal holiday. But I wouldn’t spend a lot of energy trying to make it happen.

In a time when this country is arguing over women’s access to birth control, women are paid 14 percent less than men, and few women hold high public office or become CEOs, I’d pass on fighting for a proclamation.

On national holidays, I’ve covered numerous memorial services for our veterans and Martin Luther King, Jr. The ceremonies are beautiful and worthy. It’s wonderful to have time to reflect on their contributions to our country.

But for many people, those holidays are not spent reflecting. They’re spent at barbecues or the mall. On holidays like Presidents Day, they’re spent at work. Our culture does not revere any national holidays except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the only three days it’s hard to find a place to eat lunch.

Holidays can only accomplish so much. King’s holiday has become an important reminder of his work and legacy. But if he were alive today, he would be saddened by our society’s racial segregation and the state of our schools. He would be grieved by the incarceration rate and graduation rate of young black men.

Having a holiday is one way to pay tribute to our heroes. Carrying on their mission takes a lot more work.

One Response to Holiday for Susan B. Anthony?

  1. “But for many people, those holidays are not spent reflecting. They’re spent at barbecues or the mall.” I wrote about this specifically in regards to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on my Hand of Ananke blog (I’ll only put up the link if you ask for it.) Too many don’t take time in any of these holidays to reflect on what they are about. I’ve also found it curious that the people who do the least contemplation of our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day are those with the “Support our Troops” stickers (keeping in mind that I only have my extended family as a sample but there is a metric ton of us, so it’s almost statistically significant (jk).)
    As for whether or not it is a good time to fight for a holiday when there are so many more visceral concerns in regards to women’s issues just now, I can think of no better time to do so. I wouldn’t make it a keystone issue, but it can raise awareness. It will remind people how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. It will highlight the stories of those that sacrificed to get us where we are (not just SBA.) It will force those who will dig in their heels no matter what into the light so everyone can see them for the trogs they are (sorry, no mincing words with those folks.) Finally, as you pointed out on G+, there is no national holiday for a woman. I can think of only one other, Eleanor Roosevelt, who may be as deserving of one.

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