Facebook and Twitter are a blaze with #StandwithWendy. The unruly mob of waking women in Austin’s gallery June 25 assigned a new meaning to orange and long-haul. At one point the viewers on youtube were 190,000+ watching the clock countdown. The national contagion was full on. It did not hurt that this epicenter was Texas, home of the notoriously ignorant Perry who spilled all his candy in the lobby running for the GOP presidential bid in 2011. The country expects Texans to be conservative and, for the most part, christian. No one will say Perry can’t do two things at once like we did about Dan Quail. Perry can sign a bill to protect an embryo with one hand and execute prisoner #500 with the other. Unruly mob
Those of us who ever used Roberts Rules of Order knew that the maneuvers of the last forty minutes were not jerks or people jerking around the state senate. They were the some of the many brains of this operation who were lavishly spending time, resting Senator Davis’ voice, putting an end to the exasperating interruptions to which Senator Davis would say, “not at this time.” While the gallery chanting had all the appearance of spontaneity and may have been for most, it was the brass section rising up at the coda, telling the losers of their loss.
Funny memes, women’s organizations scrambling to get out their donation pleas, a twitter account sprang up @wendysbackbrace; cutting through the tragedy of young Texas women’s lives parlayed like campaign chips. I’ve “got your back gurl” has new meaning now. Hundreds of commenters headed to Amazon to post their 2 cents over Senator Davis’ shoes, Mizuno Wave Riders. “The next time you have to spend 13 hours on your feet without food, water or bathroom breaks, this is the shoe for you. Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy on race day.”
Social media has crowned this new goddess. Petitions have called for her to be the next Ann Richards and send Governor Perry packing. Suddenly the public lexicon includes ACCESS, SB5, NVDA and Gandhi tactics. And the word, filibuster has leapt off Jimmy Stewart’s screen and onto the 5 o’clock news. (Do note that Mr. Smith was carrying on about a boy’s camp)
You might think I would be jumping for joy. Ok, the jumping part is a stretch. But it worries me that people think one magic messiah has shown up to save the day for Reproductive Justice. This thought is so faulty, so risky that I am genuinely wondering how to even talk about it. Pointing it out might be seen as being cynicical or a naysayer and I am neither. Seeing this fully will empower, enable and show you your part in this storm. It did not happen without you.
This is a perfect storm and Senator Wendy Davis is not the center. This storm began collecting with each right-to-lifer threatening a woman walking to a clinic door. A crack of lightening, the slow and vicious shooting of Dr. Tiller. Sickening photo signs of bleeding embryos with thousands of people marching chanting the rosary. And all the while, abortion services disappearing. All of this being narrated by brilliant women, Erin Matson, Shelby Knox, Michelle Bruns, Steph Harold and RH Reality Check – to name only a few.
Representative Laubenberg was the Shakespearean opponent revealed. Her proclamation that a rape kit is a medical pack for a D&C was not laughable, it was tragic. I could hardly piece together all the conclusions that leads to as I watched her search her document for section 486. “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out.” What of unprocessed rape kits? What of the votes to fund sexual assault protection services? Did she actually think that stored unprocessed kits held extracted embryos? Ultimately I had to stop thinking about the chain reaction of her thought process. It was too upsetting.
The real force of this storm is the change that is collecting through citizenry’s understanding (standing under) that united minorities are no longer the minority. The fact that this was Austin, Texas is no accident. The Dreamers, GetEqual, the Harvey Milk Conference, the legacy of Ann and Cecile Richards, and the unrelenting need for health services for poor women. Disappearing access, insane requirements, unthinkable barriers to “safe and legal.” The intersection of all the oppressed chanting at once, My BODY, My choice. This is contagious. Wendy Davis is not patient #1.
Patient #1 was bleeding to death in an airplane from Mexico City to some town USA 1966. Or, sitting in a tub with a hanger and a bottle of coca cola for a douche. Or a broken body at the bottom of a staircase. Or a bride facing her groom, catapulted together with no way out. What we caught is mindful compassion and finally we found one another in numbers that strengthen our resolve and raise our voices.
Imagined by visionaries, demonstrated by activists, narrated by writers, this revolution is televised. Celebrate Wendy Davis as a lightning rod but know this: YOU made this happen. Your voice joined with another. You made this happen when you said, this is enough. You are making this happen because, in fact, there no other way – You are the one you have been waiting for. The Perfect Storm collected and it is US.