Reading this is like reliving it. It's a powerful testament to everyone who pushed back against the radical right last summer. Here's just a few examples of the ludicrousness and the triumph -- and the defeat -- among the many unforgettable moments.
I was sitting on the fourth floor with a bunch of people around a table and someone tweeted at me, “They took my tampons.” And I was like, “Oh, you’re funny.” So I tweeted to all the people, “Has anyone else experienced this?” I started tweeting trying to crowd source info, walked downstairs and found a DPS guy and asked, “Are you taking tampons?” And he said, “Yes, we are.”
When I said, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be heard over the male colleagues in the room,” it was out of pure anger and frustration. I raised my hand. I spoke out, and the gallery heard me. The press table heard me. But my mic was purposefully turned off — as I learned later, all the Democrats mics were turned off.
That question encapsulated so much of what I had been feeling — all of my frustration at the system, at Republican lawmakers who were smugly ignoring the stories that Wendy Davis was reading, at lawmakers playing Candy Crush on their smartphones instead of paying attention.
Everyone erupted. We all did that collectively as the people of Texas. We defeated legislation in the most grassroots way you can defeat legislation.
We yelled. It was hours, weeks, years worth of frustration at being told to be quiet, being ignored, being patronized with claims that this bill was for "women's safety" when anyone who's been paying attention knows that the opposite is true--all coming out in one long, cathartic roar of frustration.
We were shouting so loudly by the end of the night that the building shook. I mean, it's a granite building.
I was three stories down under some pretty thick limestone, and you could feel the building move from the sub-basement. It was incredible.
The thing about the filibuster, and the entire performance of the filibuster, is that it wasn’t politics and it wasn’t theater. It was sports. It was an endurance test. It was the best sporting event I’d ever been to, because it was a contest to see who could endure and who could come up with the right play at the right time.
It was more like watching a fixed fight.
And the main players, drawing the battle lines today (and to November).
“We are fighting to keep Austin politicians like Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick from getting between a woman and her doctor by eliminating crucial health services like life-saving cancer screenings and making abortion illegal in the case of rape and incest,” Davis said.
Van de Putte attended her father’s funeral on the day of the filibuster and returned to the Capitol that night.
“June 25, 2013 marks the end of the time that this Legislature can work in a vacuum. The people spoke up. It was the people’s filibuster. And with all my heart, I know they are going to show up at the ballot box in November,” Van de Putte said.
We all certainly hope so.