"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."
These are the words of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution.
It was passed by Congress in 2019, and ratified by three-fourths of the States in 1920.
As a girl growing up in Baghdad, Iraq, this writer didn't think much about the right to vote.
However, I did consider my family a gift from God.
As an American woman now, I still consider my family a gift of God, but I also cherish my right to vote, and do so on equal footing with all of my fellow Americans, including my own brothers.
Being the fifth child among 12 siblings positioned me well to serve as arbitrator between my younger siblings and the older ones, whenever needed.
Although in my early childhood, I may have occasionally mishandled this role with my own urge to rebel, or by speaking up for my younger siblings, as they attempted to lift parental disciplinary sanctions.
Serving as family mediator helped to build my resilience towards challenges instinctively.
It also helped me to learn how to approach senior members of my family to try to influence our parents when there was a need to review and adjust certain disciplinary actions, or when some incentives were needed for us to accept the hard lessons of our elders.
My upbringing has nourished my mental and physical fitness, as well as enhanced my emotional stability and view of life.
Thus, this writer always finds some joy, even when challenged.
At the age of 11, I was prohibited from playing with the boys in my neighborhood.
My mother explained to me that, as a young lady now, this is a part of our culture.
I found that very challenging.
I loved enjoying activities with boys as much as I did with girls.
It was rewarding to have activities with girls, nourishing our natural motherly instincts.
For me, the activities with boys were adventurous and full of curiosity.
With seven brothers, whom I adored, I was able to share more playtime with them, like playing soccer in our yard. I was always welcomed to join the team whenever I asked.
At first, I chose to be an offensive player.
This writer is grateful for my brothers giving me the opportunity to not only choose what to play, but also to be treated equally by them.
I learned very quickly, however, I couldn’t cope with their rough and fast play; so I decided to be a goalkeeper, which was also tough, but enduring and fun.
Whenever I got the chance to kick the ball, I aimed very high so that it would go over our yard fence.
My aim for the ball to shoot higher was as equally measured as my intent and hope to share this good time with my brothers not only inside our house but also on the playing fields outside.
Regardless, I am grateful to have my brothers.
The genuine care and love of my brothers for me, especially when challenged, helped me appreciate their role in my life.
That experience now helps today, me as a mother of two boys, to look beyond the current gender equity propaganda driven by our contemporary society.
It also aids me in building solid backgrounds for my boys, so that they learn that men and women are created equally by God in fairness to their respective needs, in order to complete God’s given mission in life for men and women; rather than compete against God’s gifts to us as human beings.
The United States Constitution is the blueprint for the equal rights of men and women to vote in America. That sacred document is the Foundation of, and provides, other cornerstones of our American government.
The 19th Amendment guarantees American women the right to vote.
Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle — a victory which took decades of agitation and protest. The greatness of this country comes from its vigorous struggles and fights for what is right.
As long as our Constitution, protects our right to vote, honors the struggle for a free vote, regardless of gender, our legislative representatives in Washington D.C. (and locally) will struggle through all policy issues on "gender equity."
In the meantime, as a mother I will continue to teach my two boys to respect God’s gifts to us, as citizens of these great United States, inclusive of the right to participate in our blessed republic, by voting.
Rana Al Saadi is a refugee from Iraq and now a naturalized American citizen. Prior to co-founding PACEM Solutions International in Falls Church, Virginia, Mrs. Al Saadi held multiple senior executive positions and served with the U.S. Department of State as a cultural adviser and the U.S. Department of Defense as a translator/analyst in Iraq. Mrs. Al Saadi is a graduate of Baghdad University and Georgetown University. Read Rana Al Saadi's Reports — More Here.
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