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The night echoes softly with the cries of “Let Her SPEAK!” Three little words spoken with such vehemence that they quite literally shook the walls of government. I was not in Austin when it happened, like many Americans, I watched what went down in the Texas Legislature on my computer. So glued to the events as they happened I did not move from my seat for many hours. I read social media sites and followed the news as it was posted online. It was madness. It was chaos. It was politics. I watched as politicians fought one another, using words as weapons and literature as armor.

It all started after Wendy Davis’ “third strike” for “lack of germaneness” and her removal from the podium. She had already been up there about 11 hours. The crowd, already impatient and worked up, got…worse. It was so bad I was sure there would be a riot. Luckily, that did not happen. Dewhurst kept trying to hurry things along to get the SB5 passed. But some of the senators decided to, as someone on Twitter put it “Yo, dawg, I heard you like filibusters, so I put a filibuster in your filibuster.” And that was what happened, senators took turns asking questions, looking for explanation from Dewhurst, and generally being awesome. I won’t give you a play by play, there are others doing that. I’m just going to comment on a few of my favorite bits of the night:

  • There was even a point where Kirk Watson went on a beautiful cultured rant explaining WHY their removal of Wendy Davis was wrong. Loved it.
  • Judith Zaffirini flipping through multiple books and then coming up with an argument that would have made any Gygaxian rules-lawyer proud.
  • “People are asking where are the torches and the pitchforks.” ~ Christopher Dido on his UStream channel.
  • “At what point must a female senator raise her hand to be recognized over the voices of her male colleagues?” ~ Leticia Van De Putte

Eventually, the clock was ran out by the citizens themselves as they screamed, shouted, and protested until the clock struck midnight and the bill turned into a pumpkin. Of course, it didn’t stop there. That would be too easy, no Dewhurst decided to try to literally turn back the clock on women’s rights. The Internet just wasn’t having that. They [the senators] had to be called back in and actually had to VOTE to make sure that the illegal vote on SB5 was in fact, illegal. No, I didn’t make that up. That was actually, what happened. Google it for yourself. It’ll blow your mind. Shortly before that, the Texas Legislative YouTube channel went dark but Christopher Dido’s UStream was still up. Finally, after waiting until almost four in the morning, Davis sent the text to heard ‘round the world “The Lt. Governor has agree that SB5 is dead.” The applause and screaming was deafening. Somehow. SOMEHOW, the underdog won. Even though the opposition had used every dirty trick in the book including trying to change the rules.

But the night didn’t go without causalities. First, the mainstream media wasn’t reporting on what was going on in Texas. Most of them were talking about muffins or Paul Dean. That’s right. MUFFINS. Second, this is only one bill, in one state. There are dozens out there trying to do the same thing in other states. I may not be a woman, but the idea that my girlfriend, sisters, mother, aunts, or friends couldn’t get an abortion if they actually needed one terrifies me. It also pisses me off. Who are you to oppose your belief system on someone so drastically that it quite literally threatens that person’s life? Isn’t this why we are fighting battles oversea? To remove religious institutions that control puppet governments? Religion is a powder keg issue – there is no doubt about that – but really, do you want your pastor in your uterus telling you that it’s God’s plan for you to have an ectopic pregnancy? Even with modern medicine, that sort of thing kills more often than not. Think about that for a minute. There are people out there that think the life of the child outweighs the life of the mother. It boggles. For now, we’ve won. Nevertheless, who knows what will happen next. And when I say “we” I do not as speak as either a Republican or a Democrat. I’m neither. Both parties have ideals that interest me and both parties do things I wish I could slap them for. I think this is the case with most citizens. So I’m not speaking as either a Rep or a Dem, I’m speaking as an American. Moreover, as an American I am appalled. Republicans, please just drop this agenda you have for trying to enforce things that don't need to be enforced and get back to stuff we really need, like , medicine, jobs, housing, you know, the basics.

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I had the most interesting debate with my uncle this evening. While I won’t cover all four hours of our little talk I will say that I found out my Uncle R.D. is deeply, deeply, DEEPLY religious and conservative. He’s a diehard republican and I am…well I’ve been told I’m this sort of political gray area that teeters back and forth between certain fundamentals of both parties. The arguing was intense but it was not angry, and thanks to @Troythulu’s influence I called out several logical fallacies mostly strawmen and arguments from authority (which I probably shouldn’t because it embarrassed my Uncle and made him dig in even more). We agreed on many things: smaller (or bigger) government, how useless the Department of Education is, and so on.

But then we came to one issue: Abortion.

His argument boiled down to this: all abortion, birth-control, and prophylactics should be banned; outlawed. Period. End. Of. Statement. To say that my jaw dropped and I was gobsmacked would be the utter literal truth. Even in extreme cases of serious birth defects, incest, or rape I asked? No he said, carry the child to term and give it up for adoption if you don’t want it. It took me a minute to formulate my thoughts and come out of the shock I was in. Then my brain did what my brain does best: it went bat-sh*t crazy and into overdrive mood. If there is one thing I know how to do its provide a solid argument (well, mostly).

What if the woman’s life was in danger if she gives birth? I asked

Would you trade one life for another?

Now that we have arrived at the bargaining price that one life equals another, why not have the abortion anyways? After all by your reasoning her life and the fetuses is of equal import and therefore one equals the other right?

Back and forth we went.

But I really fought back with rape in particular; children conceived of rape should be allowed to be aborted on those grounds alone. I have personally known two people who were raped; one was sexually molested as a young girl and the other as a teenager. The first killed herself four days after her father told her to deal with it and ‘grow up’.

I never heard from Holly after her last phone call to me. I remember it clearly, because it was my 9th birthday party, she was calling to tell me she wouldn’t be there. I didn’t hear in her voice that she was saying “I’m not going to be here anymore” I heard “I’m not going to be at your party.” It is one of my deepest regrets, a burden I’ll carry till the end of my days. The other was a good friend I had meet while going to my fourth high school (in as many years). Her mother asked me to come over and talk to her as she would not come out of her room. After about 4 hours of talking through her room’s door she came out and collapsed on me in tears in the hallway. For the next 19 hours she alternatively cried and went completely still (catatonic). I held her all those hours, I didn’t let her go, and I didn’t move. I put her to bed and slept in her parents living room. When she woke me up she told me what happened. And I am not ashamed to say that I cried with her and I held her. I held her tight and promised it was going to be alright. Eventually it was alright, her rapist was arrested, I took her to counseling sessions with the school-appointed psychologist, and I walked her to and from the school bus stop every day.  Eventually she moved away to live with her extended family and I left to go to my fifth and final high school. I tell you this because to me rape is a violation that cannot be healed on its own, it is the sucking-chest wound of the soul. It will kill you slowly if you don’t get help, and it will do it without you even knowing.

I believe I told my uncle it was akin to telling a burn victim they could not get skin grafts that because God let them get burned they should therefore live with the disfiguring scars.

So he moved onto another avenue: life is sacred, better the child live and be adopted then be dead.

No I said, have you ever lived your life wondering where your father and/or mother was? I have, my BSD (Biological Sperm Donor) abandoned my mother and myself when I was 7 days old. They had been married for some time and everyone thought their marriage would last forever. I had  lived my a good portion of my life wondering who I was, where I came from. For a long time it filled me with such doubt and anger  that it was the only emotions I could really express. I would never put a child through the life I went through, would he(my uncle)?

So he went on to the next, and the next, and the next. And I kept up unraveling his argument, not because I wanted to. No by now I had to. There was something in me that yearned to make its way out, those old feelings of desperation, at anger of being abandoned by the man who should have helped raise me. Should have been there for me, for the friends I should have been there for. It all boiled together in a cauldron of cold logic. Eventually he concluded that we would not agree on this issue and I agreed. I didn’t deride him for his choice, because in the end that is what you are arguing for: choice. Eventually you must agree to disagree and move on. But I’m not just moving on. As small as it is, this place where I stand. I stand firm. I draw the line in the sand and I say ‘this far, and no further’.

There is always three sides to an argument: your side, their side, and the truth. I think tonight I learned a personal truth if I learned nothing else.

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I find great amusement in the fact that many heterosexuals believe that just because homosexuals might marry it suddenly means that their marriage is in danger! ‘My Gawd, the Gays are winning and my marriage is now doomed!’ Oh FUCK that. That’s not only in the camp with the crazies who believe the moon landing was a fake but it’s up there with the Lochness Monster/Big Foot guys.

Let me give you a bit of my own personal history here: About ten years ago I would have been what you called a ‘right-winger’, I thought of myself more as a ‘Reagan Republican’ but that is neither here nor there. My family has mostly republican-leanings and to be honest I didn’t really see the need to find a political view that didn’t go along with my family’s. Then about five years ago during an online conversation with a friend of mine the subject of ‘gay marriage’ came up.


By the way that is the dumbest fucking term I have ever heard, marriage is marriage, I imagine someone who is against homosexual couples marrying sees this ‘gay marriage’ as a parade of sparklers held aloft by men in bridesmaids gowns, flower petals streaming from the heavens, pink chiffon everywhere, doves flying around like a John Woo film, and the entire congregation engaging in an orgy of forbidden love. No. Just…no. Though for those following along at home, I’ll continue to use that term.


So in this conversation I’m having the other party is literally shocked that I was ‘so conservative’ and that made me think. I mean really think, if my brain was a Windows computer then my Task Manager was reading 98% in use on the whole issue. Why was it wrong that two people who loved one another, and were otherwise consenting adults, got married? I could not for the life of me come up with a response other than, ‘oh, it’s in the Bible, and that means it must be true’. I was at war with myself, I was miserable and angry for weeks, then I decided ‘no, it’s not wrong.’ I know what it’s like to want to marry the one person you love more than anyone else and be unable to do so (in my case it’s not that I can’t, but there are obstacles, its private, so no I’m not telling you, let’s just say I’ve loved the same girl since I was about seven years old, she’s always been the one, she’ll always be the one). That eventually began my slide from ‘no, against it totally’ to ‘yeah, we need something, civil unions maybe’ to ‘they should legalize gay marriage’ to my more cynical-minded view of today ‘hey, everyone deserves to lose half their stuff to a bitchy ex-’

It's ridiculous how many people are against something that they know nothing about, or worse, think they know something about. For example, I decided to go up to the local convenience store last night for a sugar-free candy run. Being diabetic and craving chocolate succcckkkks. While waiting in line I heard two people speaking about gay marriage, a man and a woman. I politely kept my mouth shut until I realized that these folks were married. After I heard the woman say ‘it’s disgusting’ I couldn’t keep my mouth shut anymore.

I cleared my throat and asked “I couldn’t help but overhear that you believe that gay marriage should be disallowed?”

“Yes” replied the woman and the man simply nodded.

“Hmm, may I ask a hypothetical question then?” again both nodded. “Are you for the marriage of all races, including black people? It was illegal for that at one point in time?” again both nodded, the man, who was black, was clearly agitated at this point but I continued.

“What about interracial couples? Do you think that’s okay?” I knew I’d pushed the right button at that point, because I thought the guy was going to strangle me

“Of course! We’re married!” he exploded. The woman remained quiet.

“Do you love your wife? Would you fight for the right to have been married if it were illegal?”

He scoffed and nodded at me, that egotistical head tilt that only alpha-male men can do “Yes. I love (her name) very much, I’d do anything for her.”

“Up until 1967 it would have been illegal for you two to have been married in over twenty states, including Virginia. How would your struggle to be married before then have been any different from a gay or lesbians struggle to be married now?”

Both tried to answer my several times, but couldn’t, eventually I was called forward by the cashier and paid for my sorbitol laced goodness and left. The couple was still in the back of the line talking amongst themselves, apparently I had actually got someone to think rather than react. Go me!

Marriage is hard, no let me rephrase, relationships are hard, you have to constantly work on them, you have to put the ‘we’ before the ‘me’, and that’s hard, that goes against our nature as human begins. It’s always for the ‘me’ and occasionally the ‘we’. I’ve known quite a few gay and lesbians in my relatively short life, and the one thing, the one thread that I’ve encountered with all of them is that for the most part when they are in committed relationships they are in them for the long haul. Yeah, there are playa-playas, but that’s both sides of the fence. Hell, homosexual relationships seem to be even more committed and monogamous than some of the hetro ones I’ve seen. So yeah, I’m glad the POTUS decided to speak out, and fuck all of you sorry sacks who are scornful or are against equality for all people regardless of the race, color, or creed.

Okay, enough of my ranting, I’m climbing off the soapbox and chucking it in the closet. Till next time…


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C. R. Rice

January 2017

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