While looking for a phone number today, I stumbled across the following item in the “Who We Are” section on the Web site of the Kansas Republican Party:
“Republican Women — Once again the Republican Party was the vanguard in relation to women. In 1917, Jeannette Rankin, a Montana Republican, became the first woman to serve in the House.”
A little historical context…
Although Rankin (1880-1973) was a Republican and the first woman elected to Congress, her positions on issues bear little resemblance to contemporary Republican thinking in Kansas.
In fact, she was one of the most liberal members of Congress, well, ever.
Rankin was a dedicated pacifist who opposed US involvement in World War I and cast the only vote in Congress opposing US entry into World War II.
She also was the founding vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union and her name is attached to the Montana ACLU’s top award.
Rankin saw a revival as a hero of the American left in the 2008 film “A Single Woman,” starring Nevada playwright and actress Jeanmarie Simpson. (Full disclosure: I grew up with Jeanmarie in Arizona, although I haven’t talked with her for many years).
The film featured narrations by a number of well-known progressive actors and activists including Martin Sheen, Peter Coyote, Margot Kidder and Cindy Sheehan.