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.