Friday, 23 May 2014

WHY ISN'T THIS ON SCREEN - "Coya, Come Home"

Looking at film and television.   Some real life people and events should be films or TV shows, like...

Coya Knutson (1912 - 1996) Congresswoman.

Coya planned to become an opera singer, but after attending Juliard she realised she wasn't going to make it and returned home.  She married Andy Knutson, an alcoholic who beat her and they adopted a boy called Terry.

She went into local politics, and eventually, upset with the agriculture policies of the Eisenhower administration, she ran against and defeated the sitting congressman and became the first female elected for Congress by Minnesota in 1955.  The Speaker of the House offered her a seat on any committee she wanted, with Agriculture her obvious choice.  The Speaker got her the position over the sexist objections of the Committee Chair.

When it came time for the next Presidential election, the Minnesota party officials supported Adlai Stevenson Senator in the Primary, hoping that the local Senator Humbert Humphrey would be his running mate.  Knutson supported Estes Kefauver because his agricultural policies were popular in her area and campaigned for him.  Kefauver won the Minnesota primary but lost to Stevenson.  Stevenson however made Kefauver his running mate.  Knutson became unpopular with the party locally.

She won a second term and moved to Washington with Terry to get away from Andy and his beatings.  Rumours started that she was having an affair with her Chief of Staff.  And then came the letter.

Signed by Andy, but possibly written by party officials it pleaded with Knutson to come home and be a proper wife and mother and to stop seeing other men.  The letter got into the hands of reporters and was printed under the headline "Coya, Come Home."

Knutson became the only sitting Democrat to lose their seat in congress at the next election.  She was defeated by Odin Langen, "A Big Man for a Man-sized Job," in a tight race.

After her election defeat she divorced Andy who died a few years after.  She is often cited as an example of sexism in politics and feminist martyr for obvious reasons.

~ DUG.

No comments:

Post a Comment