Category Archives: Texas Women

Jack’s Dad

Another Texas-themed horror story. Spoilers for Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It’s a flash and a thump-thump and a high-pitched scream, then nothing.

A moment later, the car is at rest, headlights illuminating the empty road. The steering wheel lets out a squeak as she releases it. She puts the car in park, takes her foot off the brake, breathes in and out several times, and looks in the rear view mirror.

Back on the road a whitish heap gleams faintly. She steps on the brake again, and the heap reddens.

She takes her foot off the brake quickly.

It’s a dog, or it’s a deer—do they make white deer? She laughs, or maybe it’s not laughter. She steadies her breathing and opens the door without shutting off the engine. The Nissan Maxima starts up a series of concerned, repetitive noises. Ding. Ding. Ding.

As she steps out of the car, she thinks of her big, yellowish-white dog, Ginger, the one she grew up with. Her parents had a hell of a time keeping Ginger out of the drainage ditch behind the house; Ginger would dig under any fence for the chance to chase squirrels through the brackish water, which drove her parents crazy, because a light-colored dog shows dirt immediately, and looks neglected and half-abused if you don’t give it a bath once a week. Then came Katrina, and their whole street became a drainage ditch, and even after her parents went back to the city they never found Ginger. Nobody from that part of town had their pets from before. 

This train of thought runs ahead of her on the pavement like a dropped spool of thread, skittering to the right and left. She must be further away from the bundle on the road than she initially thought—by a hundred feet at least—which means that the object she saw in the mirror is larger than it first appeared. Larger than Ginger.

She pulls out her phone and turns on the flashlight app. A halo of whiteness flares out and she sees the girl that she has killed for the first time. Her name is Lauren.

* * * * *

Lauren is lying in a heap, face drained of color under the white phone light, head resting in a puddle of pale, red-soaked hair. Her blue eyes are open; there is no doubt that she is dead. The body—well, the fact that it still is more white than red, even if just barely, is a blessing for which she can hardly be expected to feel thankful. The phone light picks out a delicate tattoo on her left ankle, cursive letters, swirling vines.

Somewhere in the background: Ding. Ding. Ding.

She holds her phone close to her chest in a frozen, frantic embrace. Call 911, she has to call 911. How far is she from a hospital? She hasn’t seen anyone on the road for miles—well, it’s East Texas, or maybe western Louisiana, she’s not sure, and it’s the middle of the night, and it’s Christmas. Or it was, a few hours ago.

Christmas doesn’t mean much to her anymore, but it means a lot to her folks, and they were expecting her back in New Orleans for Christmas dinner, until finally she said on the phone, How about Boxing Day? I can come on Boxing Day, that’s the day after Christmas, and her mother said, I know when Boxing Day is. Since when do we celebrate Boxing Day? And she said, Since I want to be with Mark on Christmas, and he’s taking New Year’s off instead of Christmas this year, they have to pick. Her mother demanded, Why would he pick New Year’s instead of Christmas?, and she said, All the residents do, but that can’t really be true, because some of them must work on New Year’s.

So she packed up the Nissan and waited until midnight, and then when he came home he was too tired from working a twenty-four, and they had a fight, and he didn’t end up coming at all. He said, Can’t we just go in the morning, after I get some sleep? She said, You can treat a patient after you’ve been up forty-eight hours but you can’t sit in the passenger seat while I drive home for Christmas?

He walked into the bedroom without a word.

“Fine, I’ll go by myself. Hope the car doesn’t break down,” she said. He was already asleep.

If she hadn’t waited for Mark, she could have left early that morning and gotten to her parents’ in time for dinner. If she hadn’t waited for him, she would have been more alert on the road. If she hadn’t waited for him, Lauren wouldn’t have come streaking out of the woods at the precise time when she was between podcasts, trying to think of something exciting to put on next, something that would help her stay awake—as if, while she waited all that time for Mark to come home, Lauren had been waiting for her.

Her fingers hover over the number screen. It’s too late for an ambulance anyway. Who do you call when someone is just—?

She looks at her speed dial. Mark is at the top, but no doubt he’s so deep in sleep that there will be no waking him. Once when they were dating, she accused him of turning his ringer off at night, but after they moved in she saw firsthand that after a twenty-four, he was dead to the world. Besides, he’s four hours away from her, highway-wise.

Then there are her parents, also four hours away. She looks at the body. It doesn’t belong in the same universe with the words “Boxing Day.” Besides, what can they do? What can anyone do?

Who do you call when you’ve just killed someone?

She could get back in the car and drive away. No one is on the road. It wasn’t her fault. She didn’t even have a second to react; the woods are so dense, there’s hardly any shoulder, the woman hurdled out so fast, and she couldn’t have been going that far above the speed limit, because the brakes didn’t squeal. The seat belt didn’t even lock up over her chest.

The tattoo wraps all the way around Lauren’s ankle, a slightly more adventurous tattoo than most girls get in college. Probably more painful, too.

* * * * *

Suddenly she realizes that Lauren is completely naked. Minutes ago, when she was still hoping that Lauren was a deer or a dog, that almost made sense, rendered the situation more—not normal, but bearable—almost natural. As if she were just another type of animal that ran through the woods at night. Now she can’t believe that she is only just now realizing how upsetting it is to encounter a girl running naked through the forest in the middle of the night with nothing to identify her but a tattoo on her ankle.

She dials 911.

The signal flickers and the voice saying, “911, what is your emergency?” breaks up a few times.

“There’s been an accident,” she says, but it comes out silent. She tries again: “I’m in a car and I hit someone. She’s on the ground.”

“Okay.” The woman on the line sounds unphased. “Where are you?”

“I’m—I don’t know where I am. I’m on the road, I’m on I-10, I’m think I’m still in Texas. I’m driving from Austin to New Orleans. For Christmas.”

“Do you have GPS in your car?”

“No.”

“How about your phone?”

“Yes.”

“Can you use it to give me a little more detail?”

She fumbles, fumbles, and it takes an eternity but she ascertains, and tells the dispatcher, that she is almost exactly halfway between Vidor and Orange.

“I’m dispatching an ambulance. Is the person still breathing?”

This makes her jump. The woman’s voice seems so calm that she has become convinced, over the short duration of the phone call, that things are going to be more or less okay. It seems backward, now, to ask this question.

“She has a tattoo on her ankle. I think her name is Lauren.”

“Is she breathing?” the woman repeats.

“I don’t think so.”

There’s the shortest of pauses. “Okay. Stay there. Someone will be there shortly.”

“When?”

“Fifteen minutes at the most. Possibly sooner. Pull over, sit in your car, lock the doors, and keep your headlights on so they can see you, okay? And keep the engine running, so you don’t run your battery down.”

“Okay.”

When she hangs up she thinks, Lock the doors.

She turns her back on Lauren and begins to walk toward the Nissan Maxima. It’s a long walk. The brakes didn’t squeal, the seatbelt didn’t lock. In the moment it happened, was she already thinking about driving away? She peers around the front and sees that her fender is dented, and there’s something splashed all over it that looks dark everywhere but in the headlights, where it glows the color of blood.

Back in the driver’s seat, she realizes the car door has been panicking in the background this whole time, ding ding ding, at a rate just a little slower than her own heartbeat. She is relieved to shut the door and end its anxious tedium.

The hard part is over now. All she has to do now is wait. Keep the car running so you don’t run down the battery. And so you can get away in a hurry if you need to. And lock the doors.

She wonders, suddenly, if the dispatcher wondered what Lauren was running away from. No, she didn’t give enough details for the dispatcher to have wondered that.

She pictures a party in the woods. A camp-out. Sleeping bags, forties, joints. A bet, a dare, a prank in the middle of the night. She pictures Lauren’s friends stumbling out of the woods, stoned and laughing, just a few minutes from now. A boyfriend, a best friend, looking down at the body, screaming.

She tries to remember the exact moment before the crash, scanning her memory for a facial expression. Laughter, or something else? But all she remembers is a starfish of blond hair hanging in the dark, a white glare of shoulder and thigh. The girl must have been looking behind her. Looking the wrong way, as it turns out.

A date? Or—worse?

* * * * *

This is East Texas. To be honest—let’s be honest, why not, it’s the middle of the night and there’s a dead body back there on the road—she wanted to get through East Texas fast, and she wanted to get through it in the dark.

She makes this trip a couple times a year. If Mark is with her in the car, it’s a toss-up whether the cops will pull her over; if she’s alone, it’s a sure thing. An hour of standing by the roadside while some cop from Vidor or Orange asks the black girl strange questions, question that are just slightly off, so that when she hesitates for a minute, nervous or confused, he can search her car, call for backup, keep her there for another hour at least. Mark tells her, and it must be confessed that he repeats it at parties for their friends’ benefit, that she should put a slip of paper in the Nissan’s glove compartment, “Nope, still don’t have anything illegal in here, thanks for asking,” and she laughs every time, because you have to laugh, but when someone says, “You should totally do that!”, she just looks at the speaker with a deep sense of shaming or having been shamed. She has long since stopped trying to distinguish the two.

She glances at Lauren in the rearview mirror again and thinks about what it’s like to live in Vidor, in Orange. She feels sorry for whatever Lauren had to endure just before her death. Lauren, she knows deep down, wasn’t running from friends.

Ultimately, to her, East Texas at night doesn’t seem any more dangerous than East Texas by day. But it was for Lauren. Darkness killed Lauren, whether you blame a late-night party or an abusive boyfriend or a bunch of good old boys lying in wait for her in a clearing or the poor visibility on this stretch of I-10 at night or the fact that there are some people who have to drive through East Texas who might feel thankful for the poor visibility.

But no one will blame the darkness, or any of those other things.

The car is still on. All she has to do is take it out of park and hit the gas.

There’s an image in her mind that has been there all along. It’s the final sequence from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which she watched at the theater near campus back when the remake came out, and they were playing the new one and the original back to back. It was her freshman year at UT, and this one guy she was dating said, “If you’re going to live in Texas, you have to see the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and although in general she hated horror movies she went along with it, because she was still into impressing those stoner guys who grew up in Austin and liked horror movies.

Almost all she remembers from the movie is that final sequence, where the girl runs through the woods, all covered with blood, that eternal chase scene with its eternal scream. The actress was chosen for her ability to scream endlessly, piercingly, seemingly on loop—or that’s what the guy told her anyway. What was she running away from again? She remembered the guy whispering gleefully in her ear, leatherface, grandpathe patriarch—he was a gleeful movie whisperer—but she could only remember that whatever it was, she thought it was pretty silly. The really scary thing was the girl herself, the way she ran and screamed and screamed and ran.

When the screaming girl popped out onto a road, and the eighteen-wheeler drove up and the tall, black truck driver climbed out, he whispered, You know my friend Jack, we ran into him the other day on the Drag? That’s Jack’s dad.

He looks like my dad, she didn’t whisper back.

Jack’s dad slows the Leatherface down just long enough for the girl to clamber into somebody else’s truck and escape. You don’t really see what happens to Jack’s dad after that. In the credits, he is listed as “Cattle Truck Driver.”

The paramedics are still at least eight minutes away, and, it occurs to her now, she has fatally flubbed her role in this train of events. She was supposed to drive up just as Lauren was running out of the woods, she was supposed to throw open the car door and let Lauren clamber inside the Nissan Maxima just as Leatherface was coming out of the woods after her, and then peel off.

But then, Jack’s dad doesn’t actually save the girl. She’s pretty sure he gets chainsawed.

She turns off her headlights. Now it’s completely dark. She turns off the engine. Now it’s completely quiet.

* * * * *

You are going to get me killed, she silently tells the white girl. But that doesn’t make sense, because she is the one who killed Lauren.

When the levees broke, she watched the news for four hours straight. Her sister called her from her car, inching along the highway toward Houston. Her parents didn’t have a cell phone yet, so she had to trust her sister that they had gotten out in time and weren’t huddled under dirty blankets in the Superdome or bobbing down the street in the sinking bed of a neighbor’s pickup truck. Her sister turned out to be right about this, but Ginger the dog wasn’t so lucky, and lots of people weren’t either. You heard stories. 

Christmas doesn’t mean much to her anymore, but she was raised in the church. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” she tries out loud, but softly. “I will fear no evil, for thou are with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

She wishes she had a rod, a staff. Something like Jack’s dad had in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That would comfort her. She doesn’t keep anything like that in the car. Because of the frequent searches, she keeps it spotless, nothing but an up-to-date registration, inspection report, and a suitcase in the trunk.

In the trunk. Under the spare. The tire-iron.

She’ll have to start the car, move it to the shoulder, get out, open the trunk, remove her suitcase, pull up the carpet, unscrew the spare, put it on the pavement, and reach underneath it. It will take a long time to do all these things, and the whole time the dead girl will be behind her, and beside her, tapping at her shoulder, the evil-looking trees.

“Deliver us from evil,” she says, but that’s from a different prayer: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. If there were ever a mantra for a named character, that is it: Lead us not into temptation. Lead us not into tattoo parlors to deface our white skin. Lead us not into clearings at night. Lead us not into the dark woods alone to make out with our boyfriends. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil; deliver us, like letters, to our long-lost friends. Deliver us like babies, screaming and naked and covered with blood.

It’s too late for Lauren. But she’s still alive, and no more afraid of the dark than she is of the day. She will pull the car over, she will get the tire iron from the trunk, and she will wait for whatever comes out of the woods or down the highway. She will be the final girl.

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Our Bodies, Our Voices

I have a new essay up at The Rumpus called “Bodies That Mattered,” where I talk about the use of the word “choice,” the silencing of Texas women, and other stuff.

I never thought I’d end up writing so publicly about abortion – it’s a scary issue to become involved with because of the violence, both rhetorical and physical, that has surrounded it for decades in this country. But women my age are waking up to the fact that options our mothers (and grandmothers) fought for and won are being taken away from us. The pro-life position, however sincere, is fundamentally at odds with women being able to have the same degree of physical autonomy and the same types of life choices as men. It isn’t the only issue we have to fight for, but it is pretty critical. And I am beginning to realize that women who make this choice have been demonized and demeaned by the silence of women like me on this issue as much as by the words of the opposition.

So anyway, check out my essay, and if you have your own personal and direct experience with abortion and you’re brave enough to tell it, I hope you find a way to do so.

*Yesterday I was interviewed live about this issue, and about rape culture, for an ACLU radio show  called “Give Me Liberty” on KPFT Houston. You can find and listen to the episode here – scroll down to June 30, 7:00 pm – and tell me whether I sound as terrified as I felt.

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I’m Naive, Not Stupid. There’s a Difference.

Gathering in the rotunda. Drop in the bucket of orange pro-choice supporters.

Gathering in the rotunda. Drop in the bucket of orange pro-choice supporters.

This morning I woke up after a surreal night with a lot on my mind. One phrase in particular was ringing in my ears: “Don’t be naive, Amy.”

Back when I quit writing for CultureMap Austin over a nasty, misogynist editorial masquerading as a news story by the Dallas staff, the business manager (then–he’s since been fired) called me up on the phone to “discuss” my decision.

What he really wanted was to cajole or shame me into reversing my position–if not publicly, at least in a private phone call. He talked in circles, but having survived grad school, I am not easily confused even by smart people talking in circles, much less idiots. While some of the details of the call have become fuzzy in my mind, one stands out. After he had failed to make his arguments look logical for half an hour, he went ahead and said what bullies always say in situations like this:

“Don’t be naive, Amy. We both know how this works. This is going to be news for about ten minutes, and then it’s going to blow over, and we’ll be fine. Why would we apologize?”

Why, indeed.

* * * * *

Yesterday, I went to the Capitol wearing a faded orange UT shirt to stand in an orange block of women’s rights advocates protesting the omnibus anti-choice legislation being forced through using Rick Perry’s weapon of choice, a special session, which allows Republicans to circumvent ordinary procedural rules.

I have never done anything like that before. I was in Chicago last week when my husband signed up along with 700 other citizens who had assembled, amazingly, in under 24 hours to testify against the bill in a public hearing. He was silenced in the early hours of the morning along with 300 other citizens when proceedings were shut down and testimony was arbitrarily cut off. I followed it all on the internet from O’Hare and promised myself that if it was still going on when I got back, I would surmount my embarrassment about my political ignorance and go there too.

I went to the Capitol because reading about Thursday night’s proceedings  made me wish I had the chance to show the world that Texans care about the rights of women.

In case you don’t know what the legislation would do, find some background here andhere, or just Google SB5. The information’s out there. The most important thing is that it will introduce burdensome restrictions that will shut down abortion providers statewide, leaving only 5 in the entire state of Texas.

Have you seen the state of Texas recently? It’s the size of France. 26 million people live here. About 13 million of them are women.

About 9.75 million of those women live in the “urban triangle” in close-ish (close is a relative term in a state this big) proximity to Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio. Those 9.75 million women would have their pick of 5 abortion providers, assuming they were willing and able to drive up to 6 hours to get one.And, you know, if there’s not a line.

The other 3.25 million women in Texas live in rural areas, in the Rio Grande Valley, in the Panhandle, in the long stretch of rocky desert that is West Texas. Many of these women suffer under conditions of poverty and marginalization that most Americans don’t believe still exist in their country. Pleading for exceptions, a rep from the Valley  testified that many of her constituents don’t have running water or indoor plumbing. These Texans are uninsured, and because of the dismantling of the Texas Women’s Health Program, they have no access to breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, STD screenings and prevention, and, of course, birth control. We also, as a state, withhold sex education from these women and girls.

(And always remember, when we talk about women getting health care, we are also talking about girls, children as young as 12, who cannot give their consent but somehow get pregnant anyway due to their extreme vulnerability to sexual abuse and assault, especially in impoverished and underserved communities.)

As a representative from a rural district pointed out last night, to ask these women to somehow pick up and drive 400 miles to a San Antonio clinic within the time frame and restrictions already dictated by Texas law (don’t forget that ultrasound, ladies!) is absurd, stunning, and laughable. (Is cryable a word?)

The irony of all this, the disgusting, horrific irony, is that the Republicans pushing this legislation have the unbridled gall to suggest that they are doing it “to protect women.” They are doing it under the auspices of increasing safety standards. They say that currently abortion providers have medical standards no better than “butcher shops.”

Do they understand what an actual “butcher shop” is? Because they will. Back-alley butcher shops will pop up like mushrooms if these bills go through. And we will learn a bloody lesson about what it means to vote “pro-life.” We will learn it on women’s bodies.

* * * * *

Now here’s the part where Amy, naive Amy, gets politicized. Are you ready? Because I went down to the Capitol with butterflies in my stomach, not just because of my ignorance of the political process, but because of my untested views on abortion, views I have never had to examine, explain, or defend at length, to myself or others.

I know that abortion is a moral, religious, ethical, and philosophical issue for many people. You don’t have to be a religious zealot to see that there are serious questions to be posed, especially in later-term pregnancy. As a doctor friend of mine told me, at 20 weeks, a fetus is approaching viability. There is a case to be made for restrictions after 20 weeks (though not, I want to emphasize, a ban). [There are already intense restrictions on these abortions in the state of Texas, and women who must make this difficult decision for medical reasons face enormous stigma. Please see the comments section for some of those women’s stories. -Oed]

I will say it again: There is room for a real, legitimate debate about the specific terms and restrictions surrounding abortion.

So why should you still be out there screaming, “My body, my life, my right to decide,” with the orange-shirted women and men at the Capitol? If you have conflicting feelings, if you take the ethical concerns surrounding abortion at face value, why should you stand up and shake your fist and yell at the top of your lungs for “choice”?

Because the debate will never happen. Because it’s all a big fucking sham.

Don’t be naive, Amy, I can hear you saying. You didn’t know it was a sham? You thought Texas Republicans were actually invested in women’s health when they introduced this bill, in making medical procedures safer for women?

I wasn’t that naive. But I did think that state reps maybe, just maybe, had ethical and moral objections to abortion.

I no longer believe this is the case.

If they did, they would have debated the issue.

If they did, they would have answered questions about their own bill.

If they did, they wouldn’t have been playing Candy Crush on their cell phones, talking loudly to one another, milling around the floor, snoozing in their chairs, and cutting up like a pack of fourth-grade boys in gym class.

They wouldn’t have been showing each other stuff on their laptops and slapping each other on the back during nonpartisan testimony from the Texas Medical Association that as written, the legislation would introduce a new medical threat to all pregnant women because of a chilling effect on doctors—not abortion providers, mind you, we’re talking about ob/gyns—preventing them from making medical decisions to save the life of mother and child.

They wouldn’t have been smiling and bursting into unrelated laughter as a Democratic rep testified about the difficulty he and his wife had of conceiving their first child, speaking movingly of how serious and complicated an issue abortion was for him.

They wouldn’t have been facing the opposite direction or talking loudly on their cell phones when Rep. Dukes told the story of a woman she met who went through a botched, back-alley abortion before Roe V. Wade.

If Republican Pat Fallon, for instance, gave a shit about the life of the fetus, he wouldn’t have spent the entire eight hours of debate sneaking potato chips from a manila envelope, doing bizarre little dances from his chair, and brandishing a yardstick like a play sword to poke his buddies in the butt as they walked by. But Rep. Pat Fallon wasn’t actually fighting for the life of anything but his own political career. And all he had to do to accomplish that goal was to ignore every logical argument,  compassionate plea, and harrowing anecdote delivered that night, just plug his fat little ears and pretend he was back in the frat house. Mission accomplished.

House Republicans visibly not giving a shit. Couldn't catch the yardstick in action, sadly. It was hilarious though.

House Republicans visibly not giving a shit. Couldn’t catch the yardstick in action, sadly. It was hilarious though.

The blue-shirted true believers up in the gallery cared. They (or, more probably, others like them from out of town) elected him to fight for their pro-life agenda, and as far as they are concerned, he is doing his job, more or less. But do not for one second think it’s because he cares about the pro-life agenda. I watched him like a hawk last night, and while he provided plenty of much-needed amusement in the small hours of the morning, I guarantee you ladies and gentlemen, he did not care.

Rep. Farrar (Democrat from Houston) cared. She lost her voice after 19 hours of logical, compassionate, well-spoken argumentation that she knew was futile. Never once did Dems fall into meaningless chatter, not even after the bill’s supposed author (read: figurehead), Rep. Laubenberg, refused to answer further questions about her own bill. (I would think it was a strategic move, given her ridiculous gaffes–including demonstrating she literally has no idea what a rape kit is–but honestly she was probably just tired of pretending to care.) Rep. Dawnna Dukes (from the EAST SIDE baby! And classy as they come!) cared. She made reasonable, detailed, informed arguments, and delivered her last piece of well-crafted rhetoric at 3 in the morning in a crystal-clear voice. There were more. Believe me, I will figure out who is fighting for me, and I will thank them, individually, in emails when this is all over.

The amazing Rep. Sylvester Turner from Houston said it best in his rousing speech at the end of the night. I can’t find the exact quote on the internet, but the gist of it was this: If abortion is such a goddam serious issue, why wasn’t this legislation introduced earlier? Why was it introduced in a special session designed to push past all procedural rules and force the issue in a matter of days, with no chance for reasoned debate on both sides?

“What you vote for in the dark of night, you will be accountable for in the light of day!” he thundered, and the gallery, disobeying the House rules for the first time in 14 hours, burst into shouts and applause. Rep. Turner gestured toward us and demanded to know, if this was such an important issue, why  we had been silenced during the public hearing? Why wouldn’t Republicans defend their bill, or even answer questions about it, or consider any amendments?

The only answer of sorts came from the gallery, in the form of applause, and it was of course immediately suppressed with threats to remove us. The reps on the floor? They did not feel the need to look up from their Blackberries and iPhones, their potato chips and their yardsticks, their private conversations about the game or whatever else was on their minds.

Meanwhile, we who cared enough to sit there silently, powerlessly, for 14 hours were not even allowed to wiggle our fingers in the “silent clap” of solidarity. We who lined the gallery on all four sides, we who cared enough to be up in the middle of the night, were kept to the strictest rules of decorum, while overgrown frat boys threw figurative spitballs at one another on the floor during this serious debate.

It was a fucking sham.

Daylight left, these people hung around. And a whole whole bunch more.

Shhhh, no clapping from up there! This is just a tiny fraction of the folks who stayed into the night.

* * * * *

So by now you must be asking yourself: Is Amy still naive? Unbelievably, the answer is yes.

Despite the amazing cynicism I saw down on the floor last night, I am still naive enough to believe that my visible and vocal support of women’s rights will make a difference. And so are the hundreds of other orange-shirted Texans—more than a thousand all told, both women and the men who support us because they understand that we are all people, goddammit it. We are incredibly naive. We are naive enough to believe that our presence mattered, that it filled the House Dems with spirit and pride and motivation to do the most thankless work imaginable on the House floor: taking an issue seriously that Republicans in our state honestly could give a flying fuck about, so long as they get reelected.

We who are the under-dogs can afford to be naive, because we’ve got nothing but our bodies to lose.

*Read my follow-up account of Tuesday’s filibuster here.

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