Despite their best, and absolutely corrupt efforts, Texas Republicans couldn’t beat the determination of Senator Wendy Davis, Texas Democrats and the very vocal women’s rights advocates who flooded the Texas Capitol.
After Republicans successfully put a halt to Davis’ filibuster by claiming some ridiculously bogus reasons I will explain in a moment, Senate Democrats pulled just about every possible procedure out of the book in order to stall a vote on SB5 (otherwise known as the bill that aimed to end abortions in Texas and attacked women’s rights). Democratic Senators Watson, West and Van De Putte deserve special thanks for their efforts after Senator Davis had her filibuster cut short.
And after time ran out on the Democrats and their valiant stalling efforts, those who stood in the gallery at the Texas Capitol stepped in. Sounding more like a group of fans rooting on their favorite sports team, cheers and applause echoed loudly for the final minutes leading up to the midnight deadline to vote on the bill. While Wendy Davis’ efforts are not to be diminished in any way, she was not the only hero tonight. Her fellow Democrats in the Texas Senate did everything they could to gain a victory in this battle, and the activists in the gallery sealed the deal.
And just before 2:30 a.m. CDT, news emerged that they were officially victorious.
While I’ve written many comments about politics on my page Right Off A Cliff and quite a few articles for Forward Progressives, I still can’t quite gather the right words to accurately portray what I witnessed watching Davis’ filibuster and the events that happened after it was forced to an end.
To call what I saw from Republicans in the Texas legislature corrupt and unethical would be an understatement. Not just in the move to end Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster to block an extremely invasive attack on women’s rights, but the entire circus that followed.
See, during these filibusters Senator Davis wasn’t allowed to sit, lean on anything, take any breaks, eat or get off topic. While some actions can instantly end a filibuster, often “challenges” are presented which a politician in the midst of a filibuster is then given “3 strikes” before their filibuster is halted.
Well, “shocking” — Republicans trying to put an end to this filibuster found three ways to challenge her procedurally.
The first of which was a challenge saying she went off topic—when she brought up Roe v. Wade while filibustering a bill aimed at restricting a woman’s right to have an abortion.
How the heck is that “off topic?” You mean to tell me our country’s landmark case which gave women the right to have control over their own bodies has nothing to do with a bill which aims to restrict those rights?
Then, a second “strike” was levied against her when a colleague helped adjust a back brace she was wearing. To call this “helping” is at best a reach, but to avoid ridiculous arguments on the merits of adjusting a back brace, let’s just say this one was legit.
And finally, her third “strike.” When she compared procedures Texas has already put in place that restrict a woman’s right to have an abortion, making the link that this new bill would add further burden in a state which has already made getting an abortion extremely difficult, she was challenged as going “off topic” once again.
So, twice she was found to have veered from her topic—by talking about abortion rights while filibustering a bill which seeks to restrict abortion rights.
And of course the determination for this is completely subjective and determined by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, a man who didn’t support her filibuster. Nothing quite like someone who opposes your actions being the sole judge who determines the merits of your topics. A determination that nearly derailed her courageous efforts.
But the best part? Dewhurst never had to explain how she was off topic—he just had to agree with whatever Texas Senator challenged her.
Think of it like that person you’ve probably met before who makes a bet, then right before they’re about to lose that bet, backs out and says, “Oh, sorry, that’s not what I meant.”
That’s exactly what happened.
However, anyone watching the night’s events knew one thing—leading up to, and at the stroke of midnight, it was pure chaos in Texas. How Republicans even thought they might be able to claim they conducted an accurate and valid vote with a near riot on their hands in the upper gallery is laughable.
There were even reports that some Republicans were trying to alter the voting record to falsely reflect that the vote had taken place on time.
But there’s even more good news that came from all of this.
Democrats are still really ticked off. Tuesday night put on full display how unethical and corrupt many Republicans will behave just in an attempt to get their way. Because honestly, citing 2 abortion related topics as “off topic” during a filibuster about abortion is ridiculous.
And it’s not just Texas Democrats that are energized—Democrats from all over the country felt the anger over these proceedings and the Republican attempts to deny women their rights. Twitter and Facebook were the “Texas Senator Wendy Davis Filibuster Show” for hours during these proceedings.
It’s made her into a star. If I’m remembering accurately she had just a few thousand Twitter followers before her SB5 filibuster, currently at the time of my writing this she has nearly 60,000.
Democrats in Texas now have someone to lead the charge against these corrupt Republicans so that we can achieve our ultimate goal of turning Texas “blue.”
Before this, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone in Texas that could even name a Democrat in state politics (let alone anywhere else in the country). Now you have a woman that people from coast to coast have rallied behind and won’t forget.
Wendy Davis, the little known Texas Senator from Fort Worth who decided she’d stand relentlessly for 13 hours in her pink shoes fighting for women’s rights—that emerged from this battle as possibly the strongest Democrat in Texas politics since former Governor Ann Richards.
And even though this battle is over, and we were victorious—there are already talks that Governor Rick Perry and Texas Republicans are not letting this legislation die, and possibly may try to pass it in another special session.
No matter what happens, I know one thing for sure…
I will continue to #StandWithWendy, and anybody else across the country who is willing to take a stand like she did.
And she has a very bright future.