American politics is a living, breathing thing. And it is constantly changing. Those changes occur in very small increments… A new people moving to an area, people talking at work, or learning about new neighbors. It’s difficult to actually see that change happening until we take a “snapshot” of it through an election.
But this week in the great state of Texas, we’ve gotten to witness a true political turning point. Like any real movement, it wasn’t cooked up by a couple of money big-wigs, but borne from the concerns of everyday Texans. Texans that were tired of living under the oppression of Perrystan and his minions in the lege. Texans have had enough.
On Thursday night, hundreds of Texans went to the Capitol and staged a Citizen’s Filibuster to slow down the GOP- Dominated House hearing on omnibus anti-abortion bills. After pushing the hearing long into the night, true Republican intransigence prevailed, as Committee Chairman Byron Cook decided that the testimony of his constituents was “too repetitive” and simply shut down the hearing, illegally blocking hundreds of protesters.
That fact was not lost on Texas state House Democrats however. As the Anti-Abortion bills moved to the House floor, Democrats lodged a true fight of their own, challenging Republicans at every turn with amendments to weaken the legislation (and get it caught in Conference. Reps Jessica Farrar, Senfronia Thompson, Dawnna Dukes and others fought valiantly to stall the legislation by keeping the House in session for nearly 15 hours. But true Republican intransigence prevailed, and the bills were finally passed Monday morning and moved to the Senate.
And that’s where this story took an epic turn.
State Senator Wendy Davis, a Ft. Worth Democrat who successfully defended her seat in a majority Republican district, had already proven herself a fighter, and a good politician. But she decided to take up the fight, and defend the rights of all Texas Women by staging a filibuster of the anti-abortion bill… SB5.
And with millions of Texas Women on her shoulders, Wendy Davis took to the Senate floor (in pink tennis shoes), and began one of the most significant 13-hour stands in Texas History. As the last line of defense, she held the floor, reading the testimonies of hundreds of women, including some of those that were originally shut out from that first House hearing. She stood and endured the grueling rules of Texas filibuster, which doesn’t all you to sit or even lean on your desk, and talked all the while. But of course, Republican intransigence once again prevailed, and just after 10pm, they effectively “killed” the filibuster. But with less than two hours to go, Senate Democrats rallied to slow revocation through a slew of Parliamentary Inquiry and Points of Order. As midnight approached, the crowd in the Senate Gallery began to roar with all their might, running down the clock before a vote could be cast. Republicans tried to lie and say that the vote occurred in time, but it was kind of hard to do with the whole world watching. Thanks to the bravery of Davis, Senate Democrats and others in the Chamber, Lt. Governor Dewhurst confirmed this morning… SB5 died.
Thanks to the incessant short-sighted nature of the Texas GOP, that sleeping giant that Democrats have so long predicted in Texas is now awake. Who knows what the next election will hold, but today we celebrate a new political landscape in Texas. Hopefully, as Senator Davis takes a look at that landscape, she’ll want to be sure her next career moves play a prominent role.