Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Little Texan In Her Pink Shoes

Did y'all see Texan Wendy Davis filibustering a couple nights ago?  It was a pretty awesome sight to behold, whatever your opinions on women's issues may be.  

I am the same age as Wendy.  She was born one month and six days after me.  I was reading a bit about her, as I had never heard of her before her filibuster, and she is a pretty incredible person.  She married and had a baby as a teen, got divorced, became a paralegal, worked her way through college and law school, and went on to have a fantastic career.  If I had tried to do all those things, I would have had a nervous breakdown.  My hat is off to you, Wendy!

And as I watched this darling lady in her pink shoes and the reactions she got from the crowd and on Twitter, I tried to just quiet myself and ponder things.

This is what I have pondered.

Yes, I am a Catholic.  Yes, I am a Republican.  I take being a Catholic pretty seriously.  Being a Republican?  Not quite so much.  Though I appreciate politics and understand their importance, I do not possess enough of the ideology of either of the major parties to be entirely faithful to one or the other.  And I have actually switched party affiliation more than once.  I may do it again.

What do I like about the Republicans?  I have generally been drawn to the ideas of limited government and subsidiarity.  I also liked Reagan a great deal.  If you are a Democrat, you will probably gag at this, but Reagan was to my generation what Obama is to the current generation of younger people.  Things pretty much sucked in the late 70's, and Reagan gave us his version of "hope" and "change."  He had a positive attitude, a good sense of humor, and he was unflinchingly brave in the face of the things we viewed as threats to our freedom.  Of course, he also scared the crap out of a lot of people.  I understand that.  But, I liked him.  I still do.  I know he made mistakes.  I know he was not perfect.  I am not defending everything he did.  But, he sort of gave our nation a much-needed kick in the pants and a shot in the arm and a little bit of pride and confidence where it was very lacking.  If you don't believe me, go and watch that new movie about the Iranian hostage crisis that stars Ben Affleck.

As a Catholic, though, I also appreciate many, many things about the Democratic party.  I am quite sympathetic to their ideals of social justice and their desire for a strong social safety net.  And -- having children in their 20's who are struggling to begin careers in the current economy -- I am really starting to appreciate their desire for some type of national health insurance system.  And I have to say that "Obamacare" has been a Godsend for us -- especially since my 23-year-old daughter has many health problems.  I don't know what we would have done to affordably provide for her healthcare needs -- especially considering the current state of the job market for young people -- without the new laws. 

Why have I told you these things? It is so that you will have more understanding of where I am coming from when it comes to my thoughts about Wendy and her pink shoes and standing with her and all. 

I have to admit that my first reaction in watching Wendy was to "root" for the Republicans.  Then I started to pay more attention and learn more about what the GOP members had done.  It seems like they basically tried to throw a Hail Mary pass at the last possible moment.  They said that their proposed laws would protect the health and safety of women.  Frankly, I don't really buy that.  I think they were just trying to get abortion clinics shut down.  And this seems, to me, like a dishonest, heartless way to reduce abortion rates.  And I don't think it will protect the health of women, either.  Because, in the current environment, given the current state of our culture, women will not say, "Oh, I am pregnant and I am not happy about it.  But, I will just have this baby and all will be well."  They probably won't do that.  They'll most likely try to find some way to get an abortion, anyway -- a way that will probably be less safe than if the current clinics had stayed open.  And they will get angry.  They will get angry at the mean men who appear to be bullying them.  They will get angry at the heartless and ignorant men who keep saying things like, "A woman's body has a way to shut those things down."  It's like these Republicans just attacked a relatively peaceful hive with a flame thrower.  Way to burn bridges, GOP members.   

So, here we have this image.  An image of a little lady in pink shoes -- a woman who was a teen mom herself, who chose to have her baby in an era when she could have chosen otherwise -- facing down these hostile people.  Even I -- Catholic that I am -- was quite moved by this.  And now I hear that the governor has called a special session to go through the whole issue again.  Hello, Governor.  You think Wendy is going to back down this time?  I don't think so.  She's probably in training right now to take you on.

At this point, I have probably succeeded in alienating practically everyone who is reading this.  Sorry about that.  But, if you care to read on, I will tell you what I think would be a more positive approach to this whole thing.

I would like to see the people on "both sides of the aisle" respecting each others concerns and appreciating the merits of each others arguments.  I would like to see the Republicans being honest about their goals and measured in their approach.  I would like to see the Democrats trying to understand that most Republicans don't want to oppress women.  (Well, at least the ones in California don't.  I'm not sure about the ones in Texas.)  I think the governor should cancel the special session he called and wait until the next regular legislative session, when all of this should be taken up in a thoughtful, respectful, unhurried way.  I want to see everybody calm down and deal with the issue in a rational manner.  If that is possible in Texas. ;-)



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