Why 102-Year-Old Bea Lumpkin Is A National Treasure

by Karen Johnson
Originally Published: 
Chicago Teachers Union/Instagram

Alright folks, here’s the deal. We need to vote like never before. Like our lives depend on it (because they do). Like there is more at stake than ever before in our lifetime (because there is). Like we’ve had an unhinged wannabe dictator at the helm for the past four years who consistently puts Americans at risk with his selfish, reckless behavior (because we have, and he does).

Even though we are in a pandemic.

Even though we are scared to go out into public right now.

Even if it’s harder than ever to vote. Because this year, it’s more important than ever to vote.

Every single one of us needs to make a plan and figure out how we’ll cast our ballot—by mail, early and in person, or on the day of, masked up and covered in a hazmat suit if needed.

Let 102-year-old national treasure Bea Lumpkin inspire us.

Lumpkin, who has been voting for 80 years, says the first presidential candidate she voted for was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940, CBS News reports. “She hasn’t missed a vote since.”

Bea’s commitment to voting—especially in this 20th year of the 21st century when our very modernized nation still actively attempts to silence women, control their bodies, and flatly refuses to elect a woman to our highest political office—is the inspiration we all need. Bea’s unwillingness to be deterred, despite being over one hundred years old and despite the fact that a deadly, contagious virus is ravaging communities everywhere, shows that she understands how much her vote matters—this year, specifically.

Lumpkin said it was important for her to vote the 2020 election because she wanted to honor women’s rights. “When I was born, women couldn’t vote,” she said. “It’s the most important election of my lifetime. The very future of democracy is on the line.”

Because when you’ve lived a hundred years, you’ve seen a thing or two. Maybe you lived through time periods when not only were women denied the right to vote, but also were denied access to education or were discriminated against in their career field. Or when women weren’t allowed to have their own credit cards or be granted equal property ownership or serve in all branches of the military or have control over their reproductive organs.

And when you’ve lived a hundred years, you’ve seen many times the damage that unstable, power-hungry men can do. You’ve probably seen a few Donald Trumps throughout your lifetime, and you know, first-hand, the impact the disease of corruption has. And, how much work it takes for a nation to heal from the scars of poor leadership.

Maybe, throughout your 10 decades on Earth, you’ve also experienced other viruses that have sent the world into a panic, and you know how important it is that we have sound leaders who listen to and believe in science and who encourage us to join together to eradicate the disease, rather than divide and therefore weaken us.

Bea Lumpkin inspires demonstrators protesting against President Donald Trump outside the Kluczynski Federal Building in the Loop on January 31, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson/Getty

And it’s because of all you’ve seen in your 100+ years that you know why voting matters, even during a pandemic. Especially during a pandemic.

Does this 102-year-old woman trust our voting system? She sure does. A woman who lived through the rise of the telephone and the automobile into every day American households tells CBS News that she knows her ballot will get where it needs to go, and that she’ll receive an email when it does.

So no, Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to poison voters’ confidence in mail-voting hasn’t worked on Bea Lumpkin. And while we aren’t 100% sure who she voted for, we get the feeling it’s not him. When the former Chicago Public Schools math teacher was asked what she’d say to Trump if given the opportunity, Lumpkin responded, “Well, if I had the chance, there would be a whole lot I could say to President Trump.”

Same, girl. Same.

She also added in her interview that she believes more women need to go into math and science—a mindset we don’t often hear from many Trumpeteers.

Bea Lumpkin knows first hand how far women’s rights have come and what life is like without them. And therefore she knows how important it is that we, as women, vote to maintain our protection of those rights. She knows what racism and sexism and bigotry can do to a society—the kind of racism, sexism, and bigotry this president has intentionally spread throughout our cities and states and communities in order to rile up his base and silence any who dare challenge him.

Every single one of us needs to hatch a voting plan—whether it’s absentee, early, or on election day itself. Check out for the guidelines voting in your state. For example, Alaska allows early in-person voting 15 days before the election, whereas Colorado only offers mail-in voting as an alternative to in-person voting on election day. The most important thing to remember is that every citizen has the right to vote, and voter suppression is illegal. Voting is your right and your privilege, and it should not be wasted.

Do you have a plan? Do you know the voting rules in your state? Are you registered? Do you have a hazmat suit ready if need be?

And on or before November 3, regardless of age or pandemic, you need to ensure your vote is counted. Do it for yourself and for all the women who came before us who couldn’t.

Do it for Bea.

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