By Ms. Gloria Montgomery (Army Medicine)September 21, 2012
Get off Facebook and Twitter, ignore political pundits and do your homework before voting, advised Capt. LaVeeta Springer during the Warrior Transition Brigade's August 28 Women's Equality Day celebration.
"Everyone has an agenda," said Springer who celebrated the 92nd anniversary of the 19th amendment to the United States Constition granting women the right to vote by challenging those in attendance to ignore political propaganda and instead, research issues and candidates before casting a vote in the November 6 election.
"Vote this way because so and so will do this. Vote this way and the world will end," she said of the hateful political climate bombarding media airwaves. "It's a shame that no one is even talking about the issues and the source of how it happened and the best way to fix it for everyone."
Springer, an Army nurse who previously was the brigade's nurse case manager supervisor and is now commander of the WTB's Headquarters and Headquarters Company Intake Company, said she was exposed to politics and elections at an early age because her parents worked the polls, attended city council meetings, handed out political fliers and participated in political rallies.
"My parents were always plugged into what the 'movers and shakers' were doing and what they stood for, as well as the impact it would have on our family, friends and neighbors," she said. "If there was something to be voted on, they were at the polls. My parents didn't believe in allowing the propaganda of the 'over-sensationalized' dictate how they felt about the candidates. They went out and did their homework."
Springer, who grew up in the south with family members scattered throughout Southern Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, said that the volatile nature of today's political landscape had even prompted her mother to quit watching television.
"I felt saddened to hear the despair in her voice," the former enlisted medic said. "She sounded whipped, which was a new sound for me because my mother had always demonstrated to me that right is right, and persistence and faithfulness will always win the day. She believes in our system and so do I."
Citing today's unemployment rate and other economical factors, the 38-year-old Springer said that it's easy to get discouraged and confused because "most Americans perceive that the state of our union is hanging in the balance."
"Never forget that your vote is your voice," stressed Springer, who said it's still hard to believe that in the 1870s women were considered property and were imprisoned and persecuted for exercising rights assumed to be guaranteed under the United States Constitution.
"Look at how long it took and how far we have come," she said of the Aug. 26, 1920, 19th Amendment passage. "Back then men felt the Constitution of the United States of America didn't apply to us. This isn't man bashing, but it's history, our history."
Reflecting back on the conversation between daughter and mother on the nastiness and party bickering shown on television and in the media, Springer empowered those in attendance, especially the women, to celebrate Women's Equality Day by registering to vote and by going to the polls.
"If you don't vote, then there is no reason for any man to care about women's issues and concerns," she said, adding that there is still much work to be done to promote equality.
"In this day and age, women are still being paid to do the same work as a man for a lesser wage," she said. "Connect the dots. We aren't invisible, and we matter. Any woman suffering inequality anywhere is an injustice everywhere. We can make a difference."
"Get motivated and do your homework on the candidates," she told the Soldiers. "See if they can meet your needs and that they stand for what you believe in. Don't let anyone tell you what to think. Do it for you. Do it for your family. Do it for our future."