Men in the Texas State Senate are incensed that a woman would dare disrupt their boys’ club. Old-School chauvinism is on display again.
For the past four years or so, Democrats and Republicans have been slinging mud back and forth across the aisle over a “War on Women”. Democrats insist Republican callousness is a war on American women. Republicans insist Democrat reproductive rights legislation is the true war against women, children, and the unborn. I’m not concerned with who’s right on the national scale but, in Texas, the “war on women” is a tactical strike; that strike is aimed at one woman: Wendy Davis.
Wendy Davis filibustered for thirteen hours a restrictive abortion bill in the Texas state senate. The filibuster descended into a Thunderdome-style arena with demonstrators on both sides shouting, waving signs, and chanting. (Few things are more annoying than organized chanting. I suspect this is why Occupy never affected much change.)
The attacks from Texas Republicans feel like the smoke-filled back room, good ol’ boy politics of yesteryear, not the behavior of public officials in 2013. After the raucous congressional session ended, Republicans tried to hold the vote anyway. Though they claimed that the vote was legal, it was not accepted. Gov. Rick Perry immediately called for a second special session of the state congress to vote on the legislation again. (Here is a description of the law, by the way). Another special session? Is it possible that is for any reason other than trying to show up a woman who dared disrupt their boys’ club? Some other legislation that didn’t deal with women would wait until congress reconvened. After all, it’s Texas; it’s not like they’re struggling to maintain a Republican majority.
On top of that, each special session costs Texans about $800,000. “I firmly believe that Sen. Wendy Davis should reimburse the taxpayers for the entire cost of the second special session,” Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, a Republican, told the Star-Telegram. “I am sure that she has raised enough money at her Washington, D.C., fundraiser to cover the cost.” “One state senator, in an effort to capture national attention, forced this special session,” he added, referring to Davis.
Did he just reveal his true motives? I think he may have. Focus on the word ‘national’. Wendy Davis shone a very public internet-powered spotlight on the regressive tactics of some men in the Texas legislature. State legislatures are enigmatic machines, like the BCS or electric companies; they operate under a cloak of mystery that allows them to do as they please. Shine too much light and that secrecy disappears, and the whole country sees a group of rich white men legislating the lives of women and minorities.
Now, I feel that abortion isn’t simply a women’s issue or a men’s issue, however, it seems like mostly men who are obsessed with it. I don’t want to accuse any of the Texas legislators of being explicit chauvinists or sexists, but I think they harbor attitudes towards women that powerful privileged men have had since an hour after the dawn of civilization. These are the same attitudes that led Paul of Tarsus to ban women from speaking in church, that led the Founding Fathers to deny women the right to vote, that barred women from collegiate sports; what I’m talking about is a delusional notion of someone’s “proper place”. I contend, probably without much controversy, that most sexism is not about hatred but about feeling women are inferior. The Founders probably didn’t hate women (most of them were married to one, and cheating on her with a few more), but they did think women were too dainty/dim/fragile/emotional to be effective public participants. That sort of thinking is rearing its head again.
Rand Paul filibustered, for thirteen hours, something people hadn’t even heard enough about to notice. Republicans backed his move and the Rand Paul coffers overflowed. Even Democrats applauded someone with enough fortitude to actually stand and filibuster in this deadlocked era. When Wendy Davis filibustered an issue that almost everyone has an opinion about, the men in Texas’ congress decided to bill the taxpayers $800,000 to undo what she had done.
The ideology seems to be ages old: “…women should remain silent in the [senate]. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the [senate].”
***I want to hear your opinions. What has made you angry/happy/sad/pissed off/lonely/hungry/tired? You’ve all been subjected to my opinions for a few months now, but I want yours. Send me your thoughts at christiancolemanoped(at)gmail.com . Anything goes.***