Last night Texas house Republicans robbed you while most of you slept. After gerrymandering Texas so they could silence your voice and the voice of Texans of color, last night a group of Stepford Republican women hand delivered legislation clearly written by anti-choice lobbyists intended to double the cost of abortion and force women in some parts of Texas to drive hundreds of miles for health care.
I say “hand delivered” because it was clear that the “author” of the bill could barely read it. The talking head in a pink dress proposing to control women’s reproductive health care could barely pronounce the parts of a woman’s anatomy. Her now infamous quote that rape kits clean a woman out should not be reduced to a joke. This ignorance will kill real women.
When her ignorance became too radiant to hide, the Republican chair allowed her to table other house members’ amendments without coming to the microphone to defend her reasons. When the vote finally came down about 3:30 in the morning it followed another anti-democratic slight-of-hand maneuver followed by high fives, primate hoots and Cheshire smirks.
But I am not writing you with bad news. You already knew that Republicans do not consider you a moral agent capable of making your own reproductive decisions. You already knew that they see you a kind of breeding stock Republican men need to make other Republicans. No, I am writing with good news.
Last night I saw a fire I haven’t seen since Ann walked these hallways. I heard a defiance I haven’t heard since Molly taunted these same bullies. I saw new champions emerge on the scene that will lead us into the future, because human rights are not won with political victories, they are born out of defeats that build movements. I saw a new breed of feminist men who can stand as allies to women without trying to control their movement of self determination.
The sad truth is that human rights are never safe. These Republicans will never rest until women are forced out of power. We must keep eternal vigil over our human rights and not allow any to be isolated from our group lest political jackals pick us off one at a time. But last night I saw the fire again. I saw the old champions, but there is a new leadership emerging in Texas that would make Ann and Molly very proud.
Women of Texas, do not call last night a defeat. Last night was a slap in the face of an awakening giant. Last night we saw that the game is rigged, which is just fine. We’re not playing their game anymore. Last night we saw if we trust in this political process we cannot win. Which is fine, because we also remembered that, if we become a political movement again, we cannot lose.
Last night was long and painful and beautiful because it seemed we remembered a primal truth. Human rights are not won, they are seized.