The death of Jeannette Rankin

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The death of Jeannette Rankin - She Was Special Jeannette Rankin. Where does...
She Was Special Jeannette Rankin. Where does one begin when trying to assess, this fine woman and the unique role she played in United States and Montana history? What she DID during her life can be totted up easily enough. She voted twice against U.S. entry into this century's world wars, the second time in 1941, when alone of all the members of Congress she voted no. She was instrumental in obtaining women the right to vote. Throughout her adult life women's rights were what most stirred her to fiery action. She fought for consumers, for racial equality, for children, for basically what she thought was right. But her record was the product of the person, and the person was not a creature of the things that happened but the creator of them. Miss Rankin achieved because she was Jeannette Rankin a unique, courageous, intelligent, gracious, dedicated, strong, warm human being, and those elements were what made her so interesting and delightful. Of those elements courage especially stands out. While her solo vote against entry into World War II illustrated her courage, it would be wrong to conclude that that vote was an isolated act elevated above the norm. Like most persons with decisive minds of their own and a great endowment of intestinal fortitude, Jeannette Rankin depended on her own conscience. She was always courageous; it was an integral part of her composition, to be naturally accepted rather than remarked upon. It might have bothered her to stand alone, but it would have bothered her more to betray the dictates of what she thought in her bones was right. The fire within her never died. She addressed Montana's Constitutional Convention in March, 1972, at the age of 91, urging the delegates to support direct election of presidents. The personal impression she made was profound. In no way was it based on the notion that someone who can still move about at 91 is an interesting freak. The delegates got a taste of zest and force that is rare in human intercourse but was innate in Miss Rankin. After her death last Friday, Sen. Lee Metcalf said, "Our world is a better place because she has passed this way." Exactly right, and it might be added that persons like Jeannette Rankin pass too seldom among mankind. She was special, which makes the news of her death especially sad, and the memory of her life especially pleasant. Reynolds

Clipped from
  1. The Missoulian,
  2. 23 May 1973, Wed,
  3. Page 4

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