Wow. This has been a huge month for freedom, and not in a good way.
Around a month ago, my wife and I were reading about an abortion bill that Texas was trying to pass. It was being called a bill for women’s health. Allegedly, it would make things better for women in need. My wife read it and shared her findings with me.
I then spent about 8 hours reading it, dissecting it, researching the issues and writing everything down that I found. I didn’t like what I had learned. Not one bit. There was so much wrong with it and so much missing.
Near the end of the legislative session, it appeared the bill was going to pass, so Senator Wendy Davis started a filibuster to stop it. I had forgotten about it during the day, because I had some other things to do. But that night, someone on my Facebook sent a link to the live feed of Wendy’s filibuster. I got online just after Wendy was stopped (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/25/wait-how-did-texas-stop-wendy-davis-filibuster), and was watching the clock tick down to midnight as senator after senator tried to get a word in here and there to address points of order before they cast their vote. The senate gallery was filled with protestors that were completely silent, following the letter of the law. One senator had been trying to get called upon and said “At what point does a female senator need to raise her voice to be heard over the male colleagues in the room?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWAOI6x8qus
To me, it was a very poignant comment because she encapsulated all of the frustration from the day. As I was processing that statement, thinking “damn, this lady is really upset. How bad does it need to be when a senator has to say that?”, the protestors in the gallery started clapping. I got chills. Real, real chills.
Just as I was getting chills, the screaming started.
I was already applauding immediately in support of all of the women in the state. It felt as if a wall had been torn down and all the emotion held back throughout the day was rushing through. The gallery’s response made it out to the rotunda. The rotunda broke into a roar of screams and whistles. The whole Capitol was reverberating with that emotion. That’s when I went and woke up our daughter, Tuesday. When we got back to the computer, the Capitol was still screaming. Dido was catching it. It was epic.
The Capitol, and the women of Texas, were screaming. The people in the gallery were tweeting “We can hear you!” If it was possible, the scream got even louder.
The fact that this bill was so close to passing was historic. I felt fortunate that I was watching when I did. When I saw the number of people that were there protesting, I felt ashamed that I wasn’t there in person. Tuesday and I watched together, while the screaming was still happening, as they took the vote after midnight. The votes were online, so I looked them up. Yep, the votes were cast after midnight. I had the proof with the correct timestamps in my browser. I took a screenshot. The bill was defeated!
The screams continued, echoing through the marble halls of the Capitol.
Except… it wasn’t defeated. Or was it? They changed the timestamps. I refreshed my browser. The timestamps had been changed to pre-midnight. Wow. That’s not a good way to show my daughter how government works. I was very upset. I looked on Twitter. Others had noticed and posted pictures, including one senator. http://www.texasobserver.org/live-blog-senate-filibuster-on-anti-abortion-bill
Then they cut the feed to the Capitol. No one knew what was going to happen. We stayed up, reading everything online. All the Ustreams, all the tweets, all the blogs, all the Facebook posts. No one knew if the bill was alive or dead.
At 3:30am, Wendy Davis came out and announced that the bill did NOT pass. Cheers all around. Happy go to bed time.
And then the real nightmare started. Rick Perry called a special session to push this bill through.
I could still feel that scream. We had to get involved.