Y’all? I’m tired. And rageful. And sad.
I spent, along with about 1000 of my new best friends, 13 hours at the State Capitol yesterday. We all did a little and we all did a lot. There were mass gatherings in the halls as Representatives walked into the chamber, there were seat fillers to keep orange in the gallery. We fetched pizzas, salads, cookies and more (ordered and delivered by people all across the nation), and we tweeted, blogged, and gave each other support.
I left close to 1 am and was up looking at my feed until about 2:30. I awoke at 5:30 to see that the bill had passed, after Dems had successfully delayed the vote through amendments (all designed to help protect women, all denied by Repubs.)
For a really good update on what happened, read this article at Huffpo.
I’m watching my social media to see what all the next steps are, probably there will be Senate actions leading up to a filibuster so I’m prepared to go back in tomorrow, Tuesday for the final battle.
Here’s the thing. None of the Republican reaction was unexpected. As I’ve said in other posts, I believe the ultimate goal of policies like this is to create a permanent poverty class (and yeah, it’s primarily made up of people of color, most harshly affected by these bills, women who have to travel over 1000 miles round trip now to travel from the poorest districts in Texas to cities like San Antonio, women who may not have cars or ability to get vacation or sick leave time off from work as many workers don’t get that). White women, upper middle and upper class at least, have always had access to safe abortion.
If you are a truly pro life person, you do everything in your power to provide people with the resources and education to avoid pregnancy and that would mean access to comprehensive and thorough sex ed (sure, include abstinence but have the critical thinking to know people don’t abstain), access to birth control, std screenings and reproductive health care (access meaning lots of clinics and low cost ones, not just a few dotted about the state), and access to insurance, medical care, fair and solid wages, worker rights, funding for child care centers, offering adoption services to gay families, funding for CPS and foster care services to make sure families who foster get what they need.
Of course you’d also probably be pro gun regulation and anti death penalty, not to mention be against wars over oil, but I digress.
These folks are NOT pro life and in fact have worked tirelessly, chipping away incrementally, to take away all that access. Most of the right, across the nation, and especially in Texas is for corporations making all the money they can while gutting workers ability to support themselves, and them blaming those workers for not pulling their bootstraps hard enough. They seem happy to slam youth and men in prison while tut tutting about how some races just aren’t smart enough. They seem to salivate over killing people in the electric chair. They take away sex ed, and reproductive services and blame women for not keeping their legs closed (no word on the gentlemen involved and what they should have kept closed up, their button fly jeans, I presume?).
They gas-light, slut shame, abuse and neglect and still the people of Texas keep voting for these assholes.
Here’s the thing about freedom and democracy. It takes vigilance and dedication. It’s hard work to be in office as a State Rep. It takes $$ to run. It takes patience to put up with campaigning. And it takes thousands and thousands of US, regular people, watching, seeing, calling out, and yes, voting.
The right has been better at the lock-step, the long term strategy of redistricting, raising money, getting their masses riled up with Psalms and religious texts about babies and wombs and individualism, while often my friends on the left are either relaxing at Barton or fighting each other.
Not always, but that does happen. Barton Springs is pretty rad. Austin is a very easy town to just drift away in. And I have seen many a Dem battle other Dems. We are supa-smart and love debate is the thing, but I don’t want to debate over who is more pure in their ideology when we need people in office and on school boards and so forth. I get it, I do, but we’ve got to collaborate and cooperate and figure out how to make a real populist movement happen.
Too often, I hear people just not caring enough to get involved. Or they think perhaps they’ll get involved “at some point.” Every session and the times in between though, the opposition is working, raising money, planning shenanigans so we best keep our asses in gear.
Or people don’t want their fun to be colored by politics. Even at BedPost Confessions, where we do a political moment each show (BECAUSE SEX IS POLITICAL and people have the RIGHT to assemble and my golly if you can come to a show and get your freak flag flying you’d better stand up for others) I’ve had complaints about not wanting to be lectured. For three minutes. At intermission.
So don’t come see our show if politics bores you, cause politics is all up in our show.
I’ve not done nearly enough. We have to share the work. We all need to do just a little bit more on whatever it is that we are passionate about.
Environment? Worker’s Rights? ACLU? Equality? Go for it. Volunteer, write, organize. Donate to your favorite. Me? I’m all about Naral TX, Lilith Fund, Planned Parenthood, and comprehensive sex ed in the schools, supporting adults in getting equity in relationships, and supporting women and men in the fight against sexual assault.
What you may not know is that the 13 hours I spent with people in person were invigorating, electric, amazing. We need to keep that energy going HARD into 2014 and elections. We need to cultivate the passion of politics in our children and schools and make it at least as important as what KimYe named their baby, cause this shit COUNTS.
Our lives are at stake. Our rights. And if we don’t work together on this, they win. They control us and our freedom.
Thanks to everyone who has helped and written and volunteered and sent food. There are some amazing members of this feminist army who have been up all night many nights, from State Reps to people you’d never meet. They are awesome and amazing and I couldn’t name them all even if I tried, but I’ve been linking to them and will continue.
It’s not over yet, and it won’t ever be over so long as the feminist army is here.