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Last night I spent almost 6 hours on Twitter liveblogging the filibuster happening on the Texas State Senate floor for the people who couldn't get the livestream on YouTube to work. I hardly ever get political online, because we all know how awful people can be, and rarely do people listen to others' opinions.

It's easy to make Texas sucks jokes. Believe me, I see them every day on Tumblr, LJ, Twitter, etc. Don't think I'm not paying attention. Here's why your easy, cheap jokes hurt: you're negating people like Leticia R. San Miguel Van De Putte, a state senator who came straight from her father's funeral to support Wendy Davis, a woman who has - since 1999 - stood in support of women, children, welfare, veterans, and education, a practicing pharmacist who gave the chillingly-wonderful line, "at what point does a female senator have to raise her voice or her hand to be heard over her male colleagues in the room?" This LITERALLY brought the house down, cheers and shouting and general glee from the people in the gallery for a solid ten minutes and beyond the midnight do-or-die hour.

You're negating the hundreds of people that crammed into the gallery, four floors high, in support of Wendy Davis. The hundreds of people lined up outside the block. In Texas. In late June. People who stood outside in our heat for hours, knowing they wouldn't get inside, but wanted to be there in support. (So many people, in fact, that you could hear them chanting from the street when it was silent as can be inside the building.)

You're negating people like my friend's daughter, who left home to move to the capital for an unpaid job simply because she and her friends want to knock on doors in order to turn this state blue.

You're negating people like Wendy Davis, a single mom at 19 who pulled herself up by her own bootstraps and from a community college's paralegal program, graduated top of her class at TCU and then went on to graduate with honors from from Harvard Law. And came back to Texas to help fight for people's rights. I watched the majority of her filibuster, and this woman gave her arguments at the back half of the 13 hours straight from her own viewpoints.

If you're not familiar with what a filibuster is, it's a time filler. You ramble and go for hours, not sitting down, not drinking or eating and leaving for any reason. Except in Texas, the rules are tougher than in Washington. You actually have to stay on topic, so no rambling vacation stories. (That's what that whole "is this germane?" argument was about.)

At one point she required a back brace worn, and one of her colleagues, the lovely state senator from Arlington, Sen. West, reached out to push on the device as she strapped it in place, because we live in Texas, and people do shit like that for other people. That was a strike against her, because you're not supposed to get help from anyone, physically.

Almost every single senator that was a person of color (and we have them, more every election, better representing the actual Texas landscape - the one hold back was the senator from Brownsville, very Roman Catholic) stood and argued in her defense, argued for what Sen. Davis was fighting for: a woman's right to her own body. She wasn't speaking into a vacuum, she had full support from her constituents, from many of her colleagues, and most definitely from the filled-to-bursting gallery and folks gathered in orange shirts outside.

The white men that tried to shut her down (and almost did) are representative of what's happening in the United States as a whole: a small group of white, Christian males have power and are afraid as they feel it slowly slipping from their fingers. This is not unique to Texas.

What is unique to Texas is that their hold was visibly yanked from their fingers. What is unique is that hundreds of thousands of people watched a group of scared, angry men try and pull one over on a lady. What is unique is that one of the arguments against them was how ungentlemanly that was, how unprofessional. AND IT WORKED.

The squeaky wheel has been getting the grease for a while. Last night you witnessed the other wheels shouting, "HEY, US TOO." That happened in my home state, the home of Molly Ivins (who I aspire to be half as clever and funny as) and Ann Richards. The home of Wendy Davis.

The landscape politically is changing, and last night you just watched Texas Spring. So keep your demeaning, belittling jokes about how backwards we are to yourself, because the majority of Texans don't side with the BS politics that have dominated the landscape. You're ignoring things like Wendy Davis standing for thirteen hours so women can stay out of jail for going to their personal doctor after having an abortion (something slipped in the bill).

I'm not asking you to move here. But understand why I'm going to think you're a jackass if you continue to go for the cheap Texas joke. Last night was nothing cheap, and don't you dare keep treating those of us who are trying to change things like we don't count.

ETA: and in case you didn't see, the bill WAS DEFEATED. Dewhurst (a jackass) admitted defeat just before 2am. And now I'm crawling back into bed. DOMA & Prop 8 DEFEATED/STRUCK DOWN, TOO!! Hot damn, what a great day to be pro-democracy!

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( 68 comments — Leave a comment )
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halfmoon_mollie
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:14 pm (UTC)
oh thank you for this post, you Texan you.

I am filled with admiration for Wendy Davis. She fought for what she believes in. She didn't let a bunch of (ungentlemanly) males hold her back.

Texas. Who'd a thought it? *bows in your general direction*

stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Who'd a thought it? ME!! :D Believe me, there are more Wendy Davis' than there are Dewhursts. They're just busy being single moms/dads/working stiff trying to make ends meet and can't be heard over the grunting at their workstations.

But they'll be heard more and more. The tides are changing. <3
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stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
*squish!*
wendy
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
So keep your demeaning, belittling jokes about how backwards we are to yourself, because the majority of Texans don't side with the BS politics that have dominated the landscape.

Thank you.
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
*high fives you and passes the good salsa*
fabrisse
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:23 pm (UTC)
I am so proud...
Of you and Texans like Wendy Davis, Leticia Van Putte, and Senator Zafferini (whose first name I don't know) plus allies like Watson. I saw a well-prepared group of people help each other and take a stand. I was riveted to the live feed, but went to bed around 11:30 CDT, so I missed the last of the tsuris.

My family went to Texas with the Crockett boys. I still have a large chunk of family (and I'm missing this weekend's family reunion) in Cleburne and Alvarado. I'm happy today to have this heritage.
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: I am so proud...
JUDITH! Oh man, I forgot to mention her, too. I'm going on fumes after staying up all night, waiting for justice to reign.

We have land out that way, too - great place for me to load up on pecans! :D <3
mcjulie
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:45 pm (UTC)
I very much agree. One thing people always seem to forget is that even in a "deep red" area, things are usually still pretty close to 50/50 -- Wendy Davis and the people who helped her reminded everybody of that. I think the whole country is in awe of her today. She's a total badass.

And Molly Ivins was all kinds of awesome.

(The main reason I would never move to Texas is the weather, says the Seattle resident.)
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
Oh man, Molly Ivins... What a sad day for Texas when she passed.

hahaha, you don't like 100+F for days on end? WHY? (Lol!) But that's what margaritas are for! ;)

<3
eac
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Hey, I was glued to the livestream for the last 2 and a half hours of the filibuster. I went to bed thinking Texas Dems had lost, and I couldn't be MORE HAPPY to be wrong.

Liberals in Texas have the hearts of lions, and no one should ever forget that.
eac
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
(Also, Texas still had Ann Richards in office when I was there for school in the mid-90s. I can't ever think of it as firmly red.)
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lynnenne
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Texas is way more progressive than it seems at first blush. I learned that from all the awesome folks who live there. Including you. <3

Wendy Davis is my new hero.
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
You have to see it to believe it, I know, but we're here! We're (some of us) queer! And we're not going to take it any more! :D

<3
flaming_muse
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
I think it takes a heck of a lot more chutzpah (should it be gumption in your neck of the woods?) to stand up and fight when there is a sizeable group of people loudly against you than it does to do it when you're a part of the majority. So I honor those of you fighting in Texas; it's a lot harder holding your ground there than it is for me in the liberal northeast! :)
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
hahaha, we say chutzpah (just with a twang) here! <3

Ms Muse, I love you. I love having you as a voice of reason when it seems like all reason has been lost to shouting and name calling.

And mostly I just love you because you're you. :)
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dabhug
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:45 pm (UTC)
Tearing up over here in Louisiana. Congratulations.
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 05:30 pm (UTC)
*hugs and squishes you* Pass the crawdads, I'll toss in more corn cobs!
shipperx
Jun. 26th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
As someone from Alabama, I feel your pain and your pride.

(Though as a resident of Shelby County, whose court case just dismantled the Voting Rights Act with an assist by the Supreme Court, I wish yesterday had been a better day for democracy. *sigh*)

Edited at 2013-06-26 03:53 pm (UTC)
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 05:30 pm (UTC)
I'm focusing on the good things happening because it's been dark for so long. THREE CHEERS FOR THREE GOOD MEASURES!
gillo
Jun. 26th, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
I am in awe of what I have read about this woman. You are right to be proud of her.

I didn't know I was supposed to be prejudiced against Texans. Those I know are pretty amazing folks.
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, she's awesome. There are LOADS of small-time politicians in my state that are like her, too. The nasty ones are simply the jerks that make the news. NOT NOW, THOUGH!

(Ahaha, I love that you didn't know to hate Texans. I LIKE THAT A LOT.) <3
stephanierb
Jun. 26th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)

I'm in Massachusetts and I was riveted by Wendy Davis' filibuster. I spent all of last night following it, and we had a special election here to fill the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry when he was appointed Secretary of State.

I had tears in my eyes the whole time. I'm about as liberal as they come and I'll admit that there have been times where I've been angered and frustrated by the politics there, but last night I almost jumped up on my couch and shouted "TEXAS FOREVER!" (no lie, the impulse was so strong I had to remind myself that it was one o'clock in the morning and my neighbors were asleep.)

stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
HAHAHA!! As someone with actual ancestors who fought at the Alamo (where it bears repeating: there's no basement), I'm laughing delightedly at you shouting "Texas Forever!" :D

If we could get back to that ideal of independence from tyranny, my state will get back on the right track. <3 <3 <3
I'M IN MASSACHUSETTS TOO - rocketlaunching - Jun. 26th, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I'M IN MASSACHUSETTS TOO - stephanierb - Jun. 26th, 2013 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
brunettepet
Jun. 26th, 2013 04:42 pm (UTC)
I couldn't be more proud of Wendy Davis and all the support this garnered. I went to bed thinking the Democrats had been defeated. You can't imagine my relief this morning.



stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC)
OMG, was it just noisy as hell in Austin last night? My peeps were at the Rotunda or bars nearby watching footage, and they could barely hear themselves think.

SO. FREAKING. PROUD. (And yeah, I went to bed with a heavy heart and then woke up at 2 in relief.)
... - brunettepet - Jun. 26th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
bintblue
Jun. 26th, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
Big props from (gasp!) California! :) Proud of Texas today, and so impressed by Wendy Davis (who is a new to me hero).
stoney321
Jun. 26th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, bonus points on use of your timely pun! CONGRATS TO CALIFORNIA, TOO! A huge hurdle leaped today, a few small bumps in the road, but the prognosis looks good!!
... - bintblue - Jun. 26th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
enigmaticblues
Jun. 26th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
Wendy Davis is a BAMF, and I now have a huge crush on her. In short, my response to today's news:

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Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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