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“I’d rather run Sissy,” she said. Run her again she did. This time for chairwoman of the NWPC. Another rumor had it that Abzug wanted to lead the caucus. Everyone was being proand anti-Abzug, but if the congresswoman did harbor such ambitions, she abandoned them early in the convention. On Saturday she and Steinem and Friedan asked Sissy to run. Farenthold said she’d sleep on it. The next morning she and her superstar friends visited the Texas caucus. Many in the caucus urged her not to run. They said she should save her resources and her energy for another crack at the governorship. “If you feel we have encroached on your person, we’re sorry,” Steinem said. “There are people outside the state who love and want her too.” The caucus reluctantly voted to support her if she decided to run. What was not discussed at the caucus was the possibility that Farenthold needs the NWPC as much as the NWPC needs her, that she needs a political forum to keep her viable for future races. An out-of-office politician is soon forgotten. The leader of the woman’s caucus is not. “I’m not going to languish waiting for an office to open up for me,” Farenthold told reporters. She made a whistle-stop tour of the caucuses wherein the chicanas proved to be the most difficult. They endorsed Martha McKay, a lawyer from North. Carolina. The session was closed to kibitzers, but members of the caucus later told the Observer that McKay had approached them with specific promises concerning the chicana priorities in the NWPC. Farenthold, who spent little time on the convention floor, was not familiar with the organizational issues. “We gave her a chance to explain her position what she would do for us and she would not make a statement,” Gloria Guardiola explained. “She said she didn’t know specifically how she could help us.” Farenthold herself brought up the fact that she supported her Democratic opponent Dolph Briscoe for governor instead of La Raza’s Ramsey Muniz. It was a strong point against her, since the chicana caucus was solidly Raza Unida. Farenthold beat Martha McKay 455 to 191. Shortly after she made her thankyous to the delegates, a member of the chicana caucus demanded from one of the back microphones that she immediately make an “affirmative action statement” on chicana concerns. “Every group in this body has my commitment,” Farenthold promised. “There’s no difference here.” has not a secret feeling that were his pleasure and woman’s seen to conflict, the woman’s must be sacrificed; and what is worse, woman herself has come to think so too. Elizabeth Cady Stan ton to Lucy Stone, 1856. The question of male membership in the Chairwoman Farenthold NWPC was perilous for the convention. Helen Cassidy, chairwoman of the Texas caucus, argued that “it’s sexist to exclude them,” but the Texas delegation voted 10 for and 15 against admitting men. Most of the larger, urban states New York, California, Pennsylvania voted against men with the smaller states voting to keep them in the fold. A compromise was reached whereby men would be allowed non-voting at-large memberships and local and state membership at the option of the caucuses. The proposal passed by only 1 3/5 votes out of 528 cast. It was one of the more disorganized episodes of the convention. Prior to the vote, the delegates spent hours haggling over whether to accept proxy votes. Gwen Cherry, who was not the strongest of chairpersons, enlisted the aid of two parliamentarians. They did not always agree. Abzug finally took over the gavel, banging out a proxy defeat in a matter of minutes. Fractional voting was accepted, but many delegates refused to believe there is a difference between fractional and proxy voting. Following is an abbreviated description of the floor action: After the votes on the male issue are cast, a delegate appeals the ruling of the chair concerning proxies. The parliamentarians say that the proxy decision cannot be reconsidered. “Here is the final vote,” Chairwoman Cherry announces. Before she can get it out, Delaware and Tennessee report tally changes. More figuring. “The final vote . .,” Cherry announces again. New Jersey interrupts with a vote change. “The final vote: 264-4/5 yes, 263-1/5 no.” California tries to change its votes and a black woman complains that a male chauvinist cameraman has shoved her in the aisle. She wants him removed. A woman moves to revise the substitute motion already adopted concerning male membership. Mary Clark, a member of the National Policy Council, sidles up to the press table to say she fears that some delegates are trying to disrupt the convention. “We’re sort of tangled up,” a parliamentarian announces. “I can only go so far in the position . . .” she stops in mid sentence, shrugs, and returns to her seat. Jules Witcover of the Washington Post, one of the few male reporters at the convention, tried to be charitable in describing the vote. It “came after several hours of procedural wrangling, stemming in considerable part from the lack of familiarity of women, both at the dais and on the floor, with parliamentary rules,” he wrote. By 11:30 p.m. Saturday the convention had settled down to a good, if parliamentarily sloppy, working session. It lasted until 3:35 a.m. The Sunday meeting began six hours later. .. . oman’s chief discontent is not with her political, but with her social, and particularly her marital bondage. The solemn and profound question of marriage . . . is of more vital consequence to woman’s welfare, reaches down to a deeper depth in woman’s heart, and more thoroughly constitutes the core of the woman’s movement, than any such superficial and fragmentary question as woman’s suffrage. Laura Bullard, 1870. This was alleged to be the first national women’s political convention in a century. Actually, the National American Woman holding conventions as late as 1916, but by then the movement had fallen on sad times. American women learned to be political animals during the abolition movement. The two movements were closely allied for a quarter of a century after the Seneca Falls convention, but when black men won the vote some women began to callously exploit racial prejudice for their own benefit. Elements in the suffrage movement made a pact with white supremacy. In 1903, Anna Howard Shaw told members of the eminently respectable NAWSA, “Never before in the history of the world have men made former slaves the political superiors of their former mistresses. There is not a color from white to black, from red to yellow, there is not a nation from pole to pole, that does not send its contingent to govern American women.” The second generation of suffragettes adopted a moralistic stance that would have profoundly offended their sisters at Seneca Falls. In order to make the movement respectable, they adopted the confining Victorian code that had spawned the women’s revolt in the first place. “The March 2, 1973 5