So I am overjoyed about what happened in Texas, not the least because it was so unexpected, and so....freaking great. I loved every minute of it, and can't tell you how happy I am to have a new Democratic hero in Wendy Davis.
I want to make this very clear, so people will understand what is in my heart as I write this diary. I watched the breathless news tonight on MSNBC, and I saw Kos's effort to draft MS. Davis to run for governor, and I'm all over it all.
But there was a part of me that felt SO sad too. I remember when Wisconsin's capitol was filled w/that kind of crowd for WEEKS ON END. I remember when Democrats and progressives in Wisconsin filled not only the rotunda of their capitol, but all the real estate they could in every direction OUTSIDE the capitol, for WEEKS ON END.
And most here at the DK, supported the effort, and it was thrilling. Then came the recall, and we lost. I could say why I think this happened, but it doesn't matter. It just did. And since then, despite all those thrilling hopeful days, things have only gotten worse in Wisconsin.
And one of the biggest ways that has happened, is the Wisconsin republican answer to seeing THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN, as long as they're in power. They have made endless laws to make sure of that. And now, what happened in Texas last night, will be very difficult for Wisconsin to match. It's crazy. Possible in Texas, almost impossible in Wisconsin.
Those of us caught up on the new laws and restrictions regarding what is allowable in the state house, and who can be there, and under what conditions, know how fast after the loss of the recall the GOP clamped down on seeing to it that nothing like the anti Walker uprising would happen again on their watch. I could go on for many paragraphs here telling you how specific and restrictive those new laws are. I could roll your socks back as to the totalitarian and successful cap the Wisconsin GOP has put on anything like what happened in Texas yesterday, and what happened in Wisconsin, week after week, at one time not so long ago.
Recently, the Republican Wisconsin legislature voted to pass a law similar to what was at stake in Texas. The "gallery" was highly restricted. Women w/tape over their mouths---to signify protest to the new rules of their being there---were told to remove the tape or be arrested. They removed the tape and covered their mouths w/their hands. Some Democrats in the chamber tried to shout their way into their right to be heard.
But in the end, Mike Ellis broke his gavel telling everyone to shut the fuck up, they would NOT be heard. This disgraceful behavior was shown here a bit on video, and God bless her, on Rachel Maddow's show. Other than that, crickets. The nation has left the story of Wisconsin behind. We tried, we lost, and journalism is not about losers.
I CHEER what happened in Texas yesterday with all my heart. BUT, beware of the media story on your side today. Because it can be gone tomorrow. And don't underestimate the response of republicans when they have been so challenged. I'll bet you the little money I have in the bank, that Texas too will soon have a bunch of laws that make it impossible for what happened yesterday to happen again. The only reason they aren't there now in Texas, is because what happened surprised the hell out of them. Don't doubt for a minute that they're gathered in back rooms as I write this, figuring out to make sure it never happens to them again.
I cheer every minute of attention Texas gets w/this, and I cheer Wendy Davis. I don't want it to go away. But I know it will. My message here is not about cynicism, or about "don't bother." IT. IS. NOT.
My message is that we are on the brink of so much in this country, and we have to find a way to stop letting them get away with this. And that means in Wisconsin too, no matter how gerrymandered it is. I frankly don't know how to do this. But I do know the answer is NOT to bow out from the fight in a heap of disappointment and anger. And I don't for a minute suggest that's what Wisconsin Democrats are doing. BUT, everything is so much harder for them now.
Wisconsin must find a way to rise again, and Texas must find a way to hold on to this win. And part of that is seeing what's coming. And I'm telling you what's coming in Texas. Somehow, some way, we must stop this. And that means we have to decide our priorities as Democrats. And there in lies the rub. And I have no answer for it.