Stand With Wendy

If you get your news from, well, major news outlets, chances are that you have no idea who Wendy Davis is. She is a state senator from Texas who, on Tuesday, spent thirteen hours filibustering a piece of anti-choice legislation. SB5 aims to not only ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation, but to raise the requirements for clinics where abortions can be performed to such a level that the law would effectively shut down all but a handful of the state’s clinics.

Texas has over twenty-six million residents. This is a big deal for millions of American women. With a Republican majority in the Texas senate and Governor Yosemite Sam Rick Perry unlikely to veto any anti-choice measures, the only way to stop SB5 from being passed was with a filibuster.

Each state has its own specific regulations for its state legislature. On a federal level, filibusters can go wildly off-topic (we have all heard stories of entries from a phone book being read) and can even be performed without anyone actually standing and speaking. In Texas, filibustering means speaking on-topic without sitting, leaning against your podium, or taking a break.

So that is what Wendy Davis did. For thirteen hours. She received three “warnings,” being accused of going off-topic (in once case by discussing Roe v. Wade, because, you know, that’s so unrelated to a bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose?).

She was then prevented from filibustering further, but her allies in the senate then began asking questions on procedure and arguing against Wendy being silenced (to stall for time). When the questions failed, crowds of onlookers began chanting so loudly that the senate was unable to call a vote until after midnight (the deadline).

Now, just to clarify, this was not followed by major news outlets. But this was livestreamed. It was all over Twitter. If you don’t take Twitter news seriously, you should know that it’s not just for gossip or Arab Springs or hearing about earthquakes before everyone else. #StandWithWendy was trending, worldwide, above almost everything else.

While there are millions of wonderful, pro-equality, and tech-savvy baby-boomers in the world, this image best represents my thoughts on the livestream:

This is really, truly important. My dashboard on Tumblr is usually full of fandom images, funny images, and occasionally beautiful people in various stages of undress. Tonight, it was all about Wendy Davis, Texas, and the filibuster—from images or a few words of support to my friend’s wonderful thoughts on the filibuster and how people view Southern politics. Twitter was no different. It was beautiful.

We followed the filibuster, we followed the debate on procedures, we followed the protest as the senate Republicans desperately raced against time.

To the collective outrage of hundreds of thousands of people who were viewing this live (I listened to the livestream for hours, like a radio show, while doing other things), the senate “passed” SB5, though it was after midnight. Which is illegal. And they stamped the official time as 11:59. As some people phrased it, they “mansplained time to a clock.”

As if no one would notice.

It was only while I was already writing this post that the closed-door session announced that, despite their best efforts, they could not get away with “passing” SB5. Because, officially, they were determining if it had been passed, but they were actually determining whether or not they could get away with their time-altering shenanigans (time-travel irritates me in science fiction, so you can imagine that I was not delighted to see it used by politicians to break their own rules—rules that had been so important to them when a female senator was breaking them).

But SB5 failed. Thanks, in large part, to Wendy Davis.

The reaction of the crowd of Texans who had gathered was thunderous applause.

Guys, this was a great example. We’re all excited and nervous about today, when we’ll find out how the SCOTUS has ruled on issues of marriage equality. But it is important that we also remember that tonight was a victory for Texas women. Which means that it was a victory for people.

Finally, this post would not be complete without me adapting a Star Wars quote to this situation:

PS: It is 4AM and “Wendy” and “Texas” are both still trending. Worldwide.



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Majority Of US Catholics Support Marriage Equality

This news should not really be so surprising, should it? The US population is continuing to (slowly) grow more accepting of the rights of its citizens. Despite apparent backtracking in some places (states moving to restrict a woman’s right to choose and access to birth-control, a few states—including my own—passing measures opposing same-sex marriage instead of recognizing it), we are, as a group, moving forward.

And it would have been nice if this weren’t even an issue (when I was a child, I had no idea that same-sex marriages weren’t legally recognized), but it’s better late than never. It’s nice to see that American Catholics are taking the lead among US Christians. Which, if I lived in a purely theoretical world, would be surprising.

Thinking about things theoretically (and ignoring my life experience), I know that I would expect Protestant Christians to be more in favor of same-sex marriage than their Catholic counterparts. Roman Catholics get their . . . let’s call them “policy updates” . . . from the Vatican, and the Church has shown no ambiguity in their disapproval of marriage equality. They are not only opposed to same-sex marriages within their own institution, but to legally recognized same-sex marriage between non-Catholics, within other religious traditions or entirely secular.

The Vatican sets policy for Catholics worldwide and, one might think, all actual Catholics would abide by that. But we know that that is not the case. The Vatican is also opposed to almost all forms of birth-control. Meanwhile, a survey of US Catholics found that eighty-two percent of them believe that the use of birth-control is morally acceptable. The Catholics who have Weasley levels of children, and it is not intentional? Or the Catholics who “lapse” just enough to have premarital sex but who balk at using condoms? They’re the exceptions, not the norm.

That’s showing itself to be the case for marriage equality, and I am delighted. Perhaps it is because Catholics are more populous in urban areas of the US, where attitudes are generally more liberal (it’s not always as easy to label a minority group as scary or immoral when you live around a bunch of them and know it).

I am excited for a better future. Also, impatient for it. Let’s get everyone on board with marriage equality as soon as we can, okay?



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Run, Hillary. Run!

photo of hillary clinton down pictures
Like many of you, I am already sick and tired of the media speculating on who will run in 2016. Like Christmas music in grocery stores, each election cycle seems to come earlier and earlier, in both cases driving people into fits of madness.

I do not want to hear about it on the news. I’m pretty safe in that, since it is almost 2013 and I do not have to watch the news like an old person to know what is happening in the world. It’s better for my sanity, that way, really.

That said, oh my goodness. Hillary Clinton for President. Please, you guys?

She’s not my perfect candidate, in that she once said that she was unhappy that there was a video game which players could hack to unlock sexual content. She is not my perfect candidate because ideal candidates for the office of the Presidency are all fictional. So David Xanatos/Scorpius 2016 and Elizabeth Weir/Adelle DeWitt 2024 will just have to remain my personal fantasies. Alas.

Other than that, Hillary is pretty darn near perfect for the job. Support for her is now at an all-time high, a lot of people are saying that they would like to see her run. And, by the way, support for her is even higher now than it was when Texts From Hillary started, and that was a huge bump to her popularity—if mostly out of silliness.

Until it was decided that Obama would be the Democratic nominee in 2008, I was TeamHillary. And while I have been very pleasantly surprised by the Obama Administration, I think that a second Clinton Administration would be even better than the first—kind of like how the second Bush Administration was much, much worse than the first.

So, can we have this happen, please? We are really behind on having a female President.

By Star Trek Captain rules, old white guy is followed by black guy who is followed by . . . powerful intimidating woman (that’s Kirk or Picard, followed by Captain Sisko, followed by Captain Kathryn Janeway). Mind you, that’s intelligent powerful intimidating woman. Not scary uninformed Alaskan terrors. The equivalent would be a Klingon* captain, and no Star Trek series has had one of those just yet.

So, let’s put off talking about who should be our next President for a while longer, but oh my goodness let’s silently hope that it is Hillary.



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Succeed, Don’t Secede


A lot of people were bringing up, over the few weeks following the 2012 US Presidential Election, that “multiple states” have petitioned to secede from the US.

This is not actually true. People in a couple dozen states have started petitions at Whitehouse.gov to allow their states to secede from the United States. And by “people,” I mean a few thousand in any given state. In some cases, as many as twenty-thousand. So, as many people as could be found in a mid-sized or large university. The states themselves are not asking to secede. The vast majority of the populations of each state are at least reasonably sane and, therefore, do not want to secede.

You can start any kind of petition that you like on Whitehouse.gov. I can petition the US government to start funding a program to genetically engineer real Pokemon. They won’t do it, no matter how many signatures I gather (pretty sure that I can get more than twenty-thousand, by the way). How many petitions to end mountaintop-removal or to encourage the US government to terrify Uganda into not being evil have I signed? The US sure did not intervene in Sudan, and we have yet to crush Syrian President Assad and his government beneath our heel. If petitions were some sort of magical formula, a lot of good things and a lot of horribly stupid things would happen. They do not actually mean anything—petitions are a vehicle to show that a number of people stand behind a certain idea. On occasion, they are just a vehicle that people use to whine.

Honestly, I had to endure eight years of the Bush Administration. I know what it is like to, as I assume that most of those who have signed these petitions, absolutely despise your President. George W. Bush has been so far and will hopefully always be the worst US President in my lifetime. But no matter what I may think of Bush or what anyone else may think of Obama, neither of them are the worst President in US history. That honor belongs to Andrew Jackson, and we all know it. Andrew Jackson makes Sarah Palin seem like an intellectual, Ron Paul seem like a proponent of Big Government, Hernán Cortés seem like a friend to the pre-European inhabitants of the Americas, and Yosemite Sam seem like a responsible gun-owner.

Worst. President. Ever.

So when I say that I would not actually want for my state (which, ugh, is one of those in which some residents signed one of those stupid petitions for secession), or for any other, to secede. Not even if the nightmarish future depicted in one episode of Supernatural came true and President Sarah Palin became a reality (that’s a horrible future in which the Christian devil, Lucifer, has years to roam free and devastate the planet, by the way). We’re stronger together. I hope that Puerto Rico, where support is growing to become our fifty-first state, becomes fully integrated in the United States. Honestly, I would love for us to absorb Canada and, a decade or so after the War On Drugs and this senseless prohibition ends, absorb Mexico (where the cartels will lose much of their strength since the War On Drugs will have stopped feeding them). I look forward to when the entire planet—when the entire human species—is one nation.

Ideally, one that I rule. But I will accept a less perfect version, so long as we are all united and justice prevails.

Secession is a coward’s answer to a political disagreement. If you think that something is wrong, fix it. Don’t leave.



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