Wednesday, June 26, 2013

In Which I Am Not Triumphant So Much As Resolved

Something amazing happened yesterday.  Texas Democrats stood up and fought like hell to prevent the passage of SB5, which would have brutally restricted abortion access, imposed an arbitrary and unrealistic 20-week limit, and closed the clinics that currently provide essential women's health services to tens of thousands of women, especially the clinics that serve poor and mostly-nonwhite parts of the state.  Just under a dozen Senators stood up for the women of Texas, backed by THOUSANDS of citizens who turned out to stand with them.  And in the end, despite cheating, despite a complete assault upon parliamentary procedure, despite lies and despicable tactics on the other side, despite the literal (and possibly illegal) alteration of the legislative record, that plucky little band of Democrats prevailed.  Just before 3 in the morning, word came down that we had prevailed, that the vote had not happened in time, that the Democratic filibuster had succeeded in running out the clock.

There are a lot of names to remember from last night.  Senators Wendy Davis (who kept her feet and her head when all was chaos), Kirk Watson (who wielded procedure and verbiage with fabulous aplomb), Leticia van de Putte (who stood her own ground, in her grief, with a grace and courage that stunned me), Royce West (who ran Senator Duncan around after his own tail on whether you could appeal a ruling that is not a ruling once the presiding officer has ruled...or not ruled?), Rodney Ellis (who asked, "Is it fair to say the rules have become very flexible in this body?" at just the right moment), and Juan 'Chuy' Hinojosa (who had the foresight to print out the evidence that proves GOP tampering with the record).  Even Senator Eddie Lucio, who supported the bill based on his personal beliefs -- but refused to vote with Republicans to suspend the rules of the Senate and accelerate the process, out of respect and compassion for his friend, Senator van de Putte, so that she could attend her father's funeral and return in time to vote.

Soon, they will all need our support because you can bet they'll be targets in the next election.

There are other names to remember, too.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Senator Robert Duncan, who between them completely mocked and gutted any pretense at parliamentary order or rules.

Senators Donna Campbell (who insisted that the legislation already existing to restrict abortion was not germane to a discussion of restricting it further), and Craig Estes (whose irrelevant, insulting, and bullying questions I lost count of), and all those who supported not only the bill, but the unethical tactics used to try to force it through.  I can respect those who voted 'yes' on SB5 for reasons of conscience, on which we disagree, but not those who participated in devious, underhanded, and dishonest tactics to push it through without scrutiny or debate.

Governor Rick Perry, who has already called another special session to force through legislation that he KNOWS does not reflect the will of his constituents, a special session that will cost the taxpayers of Texas money they must find somewhere: schools, state parks, highway maintenance, environmental monitoring...

*They* will also be targets in the next election.  Remember them, find out who is standing against them, and support every one of their opponents.  Not one of them ever deserves to hold an office with more responsibility or power than 'Second Assistant Deputy Inspector of Dog Park Fecal Collection Bags' ever again.  Let's remember how we feel today, and keep it in the coming weeks to fight through the special session, and then in the months beyond as we work to get these people OUT of office.

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