Meanwhile, In Texas …

Jun 27 2013 @ 7:29am

A reader writes:

First, I hope you’re enjoying a well-deserved celebration of the DOMA ruling. Dignity, indeed.

Second, as I’m sure many other readers have told you, something important happened in Texas [Tuesday] night.  On one level it was the defeat of a bill (that was questionably constitutional) designed to limit women’s access to abortion.  The defeat came, as I’m sure you’ve heard, on the heels of an 11-hour filibuster – the good ole fashioned kind.  On another, it viscerally demonstrated several themes you cover on the blog.

First, the new media coverage of this was amazing: the Texas Tribune, with its live stream/blog and Twitter, was about the only place to get news, since the cable networks were silent.  Second, the epistemic closure of the Texas GOP is well-known and documented, but here it was live-streamed to almost 200,000 people – and the Republican senators still lied, obfuscated, and ignored the rules in an attempt to get their bill passed.  This defeat is a huge punch in the gut for Perry, Dewhurst (the lieutenant governor pondering a run for Cornyn’s seat after losing to Cruz in the primaries), and the GOP more generally.  Texas turning purple, indeed.

It was also a moment for several Democratic senators to get their names and stories out there, not the least of whom is Wendy Davis, who spoke for 11 hours.  Third, thousands of people showed up in support of the filibuster and those in the gallery are responsible for actually making the final vote impossible by screaming for 15 minutes.  While that may insult the rules of order, Dewhurst and Duncan (who had taken the chair after an appeal of one of Dewhurst’s decisions) had long gone down that road.  And those thousands of people dwarfed those who showed up in support of the bill.  Coming on the heels of 10,000 marching in March to return funding to schools, people showing up in the capitol to participate in democracy is amazingly powerful.

On a personal note, it was amazing to watch the last three hours of the special session.  As a Catholic, the hypocrisy of the pro-life GOP (in a state that will execute its 500th prisoner since 1976 tonight; 261 of those under Rick Perry) is galling and this bill is just one more way they were trying to make it impossible to be a poor, pregnant woman while wrapping themselves in the rhetoric of life.  So much for the preferential option for the poor.  To see their bill picked apart by Sen. Davis, their misogynist perspective revealed by Sen. Van de Putt, and their epistemic closure on display to the public was so heartening.

I hope after the high of the DOMA ruling wears off you’ll throw a little attention toward Texas.

Update from a reader, who clarifies:

The bill was not “defeated”. Instead, a vote was prevented from happening before time was up on a special session. Perry called a second special session to open on July 1st to try again.