Filibuster or not, this is still Texas

Texas State Capitol, AustinI’ve got five young children and, surprisingly, sometimes they don’t get along too well. Just a few days ago two of my younger children got into a fight over a toy. One claimed he “had it first” while the other insisted “but it’s miiiiine.”

Activating my resonant bellow of a “dad voice” I informed them both that “I” had the toy first, because I bought it. Also, since it was my money that purchased the toy, technically it was “mine.” They didn’t like that too much, but it shut them up right quick, and they were willing to share all of a sudden.

Such is the course of events in the benevolent dictatorship that is my home. There’s no votes or committees. Whatsoever I (and my wife!) sayeth, is law. Any possible “protest” is promptly quashed by the absolute veto of “because I say so.” Sometimes I’ll let them try to reason with me, but it’s almost always a futile gesture.

I mention all this to show the glaring contrast between the system I use to run my household and the one we use to run this country. You see, in our federalistic republic form of democracy, we have a proper process by which policies become the law of the land. Unlike the tyranny imposed by the totalitarian state known as the “Prosser House,” a booming voice doesn’t end the debate in the United States of America — nor in the Great State of Texas.

Like many, Tuesday night I watched the valiant filibuster spearheaded by state senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth). Unlike the sort of tedious stereotypical filibusters found in our national congress — which can include reading everything from recipes to phone books to kill time — I was impressed with how Davis used germane arguments and stayed on topic throughout.

But what, exactly, was in State Bill 5 that abortion activists are so proud of killing? One element was based on model language from Americans United for Life that protects women undergoing chemical abortions by requiring that FDA-approved protocols be followed. At least 14 women have died after off-label use of abortion drugs. Another element would have restricted abortion after a baby reached five months. At that point in a pregnancy, a woman is obviously pregnant, can feel the baby kicking, and sonograms may show the baby sucking his thumb.

Though Davis is currently the “belle of the ball” among the culturally and politically liberal, she may find herself going the way of Natalie Maines if she’s “not ready to make nice.”

Once the pop-political euphoria tamps down, the enablers of Big Abortion will come to see Tuesday night as little more than a rare but pyrrhic victory, and the final straw that awoke the slumbering beast of moral outrage.

After all, this is still Texas. If put to a statewide ballot the populace would probably outlaw abortion, gay marriage, and require Judeo-Christian ethics taught in public schools. Things have certainly changed a lot in the last 30 years, but not everything and I know I’m not the only voter disgusted by the chaos in the Senate chamber.

Regardless of one’s views on abortion, Tuesday night’s actions set a terrible precedent. Allowing an unruly crowd to effectively block a vote on a piece of legislation will only serve to encourage disruptive activity in the future.

The Texas Legislature now readies for another special session, and the clear implication that the governor will call as many more as it takes to get this legislation through.

Interested observers will have their eyes on the Texas Capitol building as the debate is scheduled to be taken up again on Monday. Will Davis attempt another 13-hour filibuster to explain why 20 weeks (the half-way point) is just not enough time for a mother to determine whether she should abort? Is Davis ready to become the face of the pro-abortion movement as Konni Burton — the pro-life challenger to her senate seat — waits in the wings.

I hope she’s got her red running shoes ready, because this is still Texas.


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