Today is International Women’s Day. In honor of the day (as well as Women’s History Month), I thought it would be fitting to offer a up a brief bio on the first woman to serve in both the U.S. house and the senate, Margaret Chase Smith.
Born in 1897 in Skowhegan Maine, Margaret grew up in a large family of 6 children: Only 4 of which would survive childhood. Growing up under modest means, she began working at the age of 12. After graduating high school in 1916, she met local politician and future husband Clyde Smith, her greatest influence to her future political career.
During the roaring 20’s, Smith became heavily involved in local and state politics. Championing women’s issues, she would co-found the Skowhegan chapter of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, and later served as president of the Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Club. After marrying Clyde Smith in 1930, she was elected to the Maine Republican State Committee, a position she would hold until 1936.
In 1937, her husband Clyde was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives: He served until 1940, the year he died of a massive heart attack. After Clyde’s death, Margaret ran for his 2nd Congressional District seat, and was elected unopposed. While becoming a fixture on the House Naval Affairs committee, she was a Republican moderate known for voting her conscience. She supported much of FDR’s New Deal legislation, and in her later years as senator, she vehemently opposed Joseph McCarthy‘s communist witch hunts. In 1950 as a U.S. senator, she would deliver on the senate floor her speech
Declaration of Conscience, in which she would roundly condemn McCarthy and his unfounded attacks.
As previously mentioned, Ms Smith served on the House Naval Affairs Committee during the war, as well as the House Armed Services Committee. During her tenure in congress, she sponsored legislation that would give women permanent status in the military in 1948, and became known as the mother of the Navy Waves.
In 1948, she decided to run for the senate: she won easily, receiving more votes than her three opponents combined. She would serve there until 1972, when for the first time, she lost an election. Her time in the Senate, may have been her most noteworthy: She was mentioned by many as a possible running mate for Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. In 1964, she ran for president, becoming the first female to place herself in nomination. She placed 5th at the Republican National Convention.
In addition, her time as senator from Maine would include the chair of the Senate Republican Conference. Known for her staunch support of the military, she was also firmly in favor of the space program. She was a charter member of the Senate Aeronautical and Space Committee, and was a primary driving force in NASA putting a man on the moon in 1969. Ms Smith was also a firm supporter of educational funding, civil rights, and Medicare.
After she lost the election of 1972, she would live out her remaining days in her hometown of Skowhagen. She died in 1995 from a stroke, at the age of 97. In 1989, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1995, she was awarded the Naval Heritage Award for her long history of supporting the Navy as well as the WAVES. In addition, Ms Smith was the longest serving female senator until 2011, when Barbara Mikurski surpassed her with her election to her 5th term.
There you have it: Margaret Chase Smith was a woman born of modest means from a small town in Maine, and grew up to become one of the most influential women in American politics for over 3 decades. She was a politician and pioneer, paving the way for aspiring women politicians who serve our country today. Though a Republican, she voted her conscience and was not afraid to support legislation generated from both sides of the aisle. Mother of the Waves, and champion of the space program, she was her own woman who gracefully forged her way down a path dominated by men. She stood up to Joe McCarthy, and almost landed a seat in the White House- twice. She was a remarkable woman, recognized by the single red rose she wore daily pinned to her lapel.
Thank you Margaret Chase Smith for all that you have done. You may no longer be a household name, but when I think of today’s best and brightest women in politics, I will think of you.
I hope that powerful women such as Hillary Clinton, Claire McCaskill and Elizabeth Warren hold your name dear in their hearts.
I know I do.
When I started this blog two years ago, I had very little expectation. I figured I would write about what interests me, and put it out on the intertubes for whoever else would care to read it. Hell, I’m surprised I’ve managed to stick with the blog this long. I never imagined that my blog would ever attract this much attention, as modest as that attention may be.
The blog recently passed the 100,000 view mark, and I want to thank everyone of you who support BTTFH. It’s been a lot of fun putting myself out there, as well as meeting and interacting with so many cool people!
To celebrate, I thought I would share links to my 5 favorite posts, as well as the top 5 posts by view. I hope you enjoy!
Top Five All Time Fan Favorites:
#5 Naked Family
A pic of a family in anatomically correct naked costumes. What’s not to like?
#4: I Got Nothing
Who knew bitching about school and writer’s block, would generate so much interest?
#3 Beneath The Tin Foil Hat Goes Global: My Interview On Russia Today
Like everybody else, I wrote a series of posts about Anders Breivik and the Utoya, Norway massacre. Somehow, my posts caught the attention of a producer on the Russian news network, Russia Today. The interview went horribly wrong, thus ending my brief career as a Russian TV pundit.
It was still fun as hell though!
#2 Dear Republicans
A meme I shared that highlights just how much today’s GOP dislikes – well, they dislike everybody.
#1 From Mittens To Kittens
I posted this shortly before the election, just to put a little irreverence into a tense atmosphere. Who knew so many people like pictures of cats?
My Top Five Favorites
#5 Angry Poetry Week: Howl – Allen Ginsberg
One of the best poems written by one of the best writers to ever walk the face of the earth!
#4 Why God Hates Al Gore: Judeo-Christianity and Ecology.
A small history lesson concerning religion, and it’s sense of entitlement to all things big and small on our planet.
#3 My Response to Republicans Over SB5? F*ck You!
This is me doing what I do best.
#2 The Pueblo Indians of The 17th Century.
Another history post: This one is about those naughty Pueblo Indians.
#1 Where is The Angela Davis of Today’s Generation? She Never Left!
What can I say? I’m a history geek.
Once again, I want to thank everyone who continues to support my little piece of crap blog. I love you all!
- Cat in the Tin Foil Hat (itinerantneerdowell.wordpress.com)
These are chilling statistics. To see how you can help, go to http://www.actionaid.org.au
Human rights should be a top priority for all people in the world as they are rights that every human deserves, but not all receive. Any one person in a minority group is subject to human rights discrimination. Women are among those who are vulnerable to such discrimination. The infographic above is from visual.ly blog. These figures are alarming, so please educate yourself so you too can stand up and be a voice of change.
No one is coming to take your guns – please, shut the fuck up.
You don’t need an assault gun with a grenade launcher to hunt deer or protect your home – please, shut the fuck up.
The Muslims and atheists are not coming to blow up your churches or rob you of your religion- please, shut the fuck up.
Gays and lesbians getting married do not rob you of your rights, nor do they violate the sanctity of marriage- please, pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top, shut the fuck up.
Obama is not a socialist, nor is he coming to take your big screen TV to give to a poor person. Corporate profits have soared under Obama- please, shut the fuck up.
Climate change is real, and this planet is in grave danger of dying – please, shut the fuck up: your blustering over cyclical temps is greatly contributing to our carbon foot print.
Obama is not out to steal your liberties: He’s too busy killing innocent people of color in third world countries with his killer robot planes – please, shut the fuck up.
Reagan and Bush spent way more, and contributed more to the deficit than Obama – please, shut the fuck up.
Supply side economics doesn’t work – please, shut the fuck up.
Women deserve to have control over their own bodies – please, take your patriarchal, misogynistic views, and shut that whole fucking thing down.
Getting more people to work is more important than austerity: More workers equals more taxpayers and consumers, which equals more revenue – Mitch please, shut the fuck up.
God is indeed in our schools: if a student so desires to bring god with him or her to school, she or he has every right to do so – can I get a please shut the fuck up?
Most people don’t want “gifts” from our government. What they want is a chance for a good education, a good job, and a good life – please, help yourself to a Mitt Romney sized cup of shut the fuck up.
Liberals are not some communist horde looking to tear down America. We simply want to level the playing field in order to make sure that everyone has a chance to work hard, and build America up – please, right wing pundits, shut the fuck up.
If I left any wing nuts out, don’t worry I’ll get to you – in the mean time have a seat in yonder corner, and SHUT THE FUCK UP!
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