Monday, July 01, 2013

One Woman Army

After a weekend of revelry, comes reflection. There’s so much fight left – not just for marriage equality, but for all of the fights. The fight for our basic voting rights (oh, hadn’t you heard, racism is over according to the Supreme Court) and for our right to control our own bodies (oh, hadn’t you heard, men know what’s best for women according to men) continues. But never let it be said that one woman cannot make a difference.

Davis’ epic 12 and a half hour filibuster, and stirring people’s filibuster that followed, was one of the clearest demonstrations of the citizenship’s ability to speak truth to power. The hundreds in the Texas statehouse and hundreds of thousands who stayed up into the wee hours of the night to watch the drama unfold online bore witness to the as one woman, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. She stood without sitting, eating, drinking, leaning, using the bathroom or anything other than speaking in an effort to kill SB5, a radical anti-abortion bill. The bill would criminalize the procedure after 20 weeks and force all but five of the state’s abortion clinics to close their doors. That’s five clinics for more than 26 million people. So in essence, they all but eliminated women’s access to safe and legal abortions in the second most populous state in the union.

The Republican-led legislature did everything they could to shut her up. So many men deciding if a woman could speak about laws affecting all women’s bodies was exactly the problem. In the end they ruled talking about sonograms during an abortion debate was off-topic as her final warning. This while state after state tries to force women to have invasive sonograms before getting abortions. Off topic, indeed. But the people revolted, first chanting “Let her speak,” and then roaring when with minutes to go they tried to conduct a vote. (Special high five for bad-assery as well for Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte, who raced from her father’s funeral to fight for women’s rights). Then after they tried to claim the bill passed, even though the vote completed after the midnight deadline, we knew better because we were watching.

But despite everything Wendy prevailed, we prevailed. Of course the very next day Gov. Rick Perry called another 30-day special session to try to pass the bill again. This is the second special session he has called to pass the bill, at first you don’t succeed and all. Each special session, it should be noted, could cost voters up to $800,000. So for two that’s $1.6 million. Gee, is there anything else more useful taxpayer dollars could be going to? Nah, definitely just legislating women’s bodies.

In doing so, Texas lawmakers showed their profound misunderstanding of the concept of government of the people. Because instead of listening to their constituents’ righteous ire, they dismissed it. The Lt. Gov. called them an “angry mob” and the Governor described it as a “breakdown of decorum and decency.” Meanwhile people who come armed to the teeth with loaded assault rifles to peaceful rallies filled with mothers and children are true patriots. Got it.

To add insult to injury, on Thursday Perry went and explained Wendy Davis’ mistakes in life to her at the National Right to Life conference. Saying as a child of a single mother and teenage mother herself it was “unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example.” Oh, thank you, sir – you really do understand the female experience so much more thoroughly than us females.

In the end, the horrendous Texas bill may pass after all. No one can filibuster for 30 days straight. The Republican legislature certainly has more than enough votes to force it through. But what Wendy did, what the people did that night, will not be in vain. vain. It mattered. They may pass this bill, but we are all watching now. And we’re angry. We’re so angry. And we fucking vote.

7 comments:

Kristan Hoffman said...

Very rousing post! Makes me wish I was still registered to vote in Texas.

Granted, I get to vote in Ohio instead. But even in spite of my pro-women choices at the ballot, Ohio recently did this: http://innovationohio.org/2013/06/18/legislative-recap-ohio-legislature-works-to-limit-abortion-access/

:(

Orlando said...

I'm angry. I'm fucking angry. And I'm not even American. Here's hoping that the amazing and awe-inspiring Wendy Davis has a bright political future ahead of her.

Anonymous said...

I'm a guy, but Wendy Davis is my hero (heroine?). She is honest, determined and implacable in defending basic human rights. One day the US will elect a woman as President, perhaps we will be lucky to have President Davis...

Anonymous said...

Wendy Davis is my hero. I was so inspired by her that I made a donation to her even though I don't live in Texas.

tlsintx said...

Yeah Wendy!! As a Texas woman, you don't know what an utter relief it is to finally have someone stand up and speak for US. It's been a long time. We're not stopping. Thanks for the post Ms. Snarker!

Anonymous said...

I just think it's crazy..because so many men walk away from real live children everyday.

Brendan said...

In 12 hours Wendy Davis did more for Texas women than Gov Perry has in 12 years!