Wednesday, June 26, 2013

germane, part 2

I became quite absorbed in watching the Texas filibuster play out yesterday, in which State Senator Wendy Davis managed to hold up long enough to  make possible the defeat of a bill that would have brought sweeping restrictions on abortion to the state. Although Rand Paul preceded her in doing an actual rather than a nominal filibuster in the U.S. Senate recently, Davis's effort was somewhat akin to that famous comment about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels.

After wearing heels at an earlier successful filibuster against a bill that would have made four billion dollars in school cuts, Davis decided that pink tennis shoes were more in keeping with her task. But that didn't mean she had an easy time of it. Texas filibuster rules state that the participant must stand, not leaning on the desk before them, must not take breaks, and that everything they say must be germane to the bill under discussion. In other words, no reading from phone books.

The Texas Senate held her to a much more rigorous standard than that, and eventually ruled that she had not been germane enough in her presentation, even though the Senate's own rules allowed, in CAPITAL LETTERS, according to one senator, that germanity was a subjective thing.

Of course, being me, I started thinking about that word germane, and thought I might do a little discussion of it. But then I realized that I had already had.

Although Davis impressed me with her stamina, ability to stay on point and grace under pressure, the day was not hers alone. The strategic and at times brilliant tactics of  her fellow Democrats allowed the clock to click ever closer to the midnight deadline, but even this was not enough. In the end, the day was saved by the boisterous crowds in the gallery that disrupted the business at hand with cheers and other shouts, which made it impossible for the Senate to take the vote till two minutes after midnight, at which point it was (eventually declared) null and void. We the People, eh?

I must say that I'll think differently about the Texas legislature from here on out. Journalist Molly Ivins regaled us for many years with the shenanigans of the Good Ol' Boy network that presided over Texas government. But judging by the evidence last night, some of them Good Ol' Boys better watch out for these Good New Gals.

Edited to add that the Rachel Maddow Show did a good recap last night:


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  1. Seana, I know you don't participate in
    Facebook, but I do like their "Like" button and could use one here. It is probably just the lazy way for those short on words to show their appreciation, and I am prone to being lazy some days. Thanks, Janet

  2. Thanks, Janet. I took a look into it, but they don't seem to have 'like' buttons here. If it helps, you can always hit the Facebook button or whatever of the social media links that work for you. I appreciate the question, though.

  3. Really I should not be so lazy, or so shy about commenting. Thank you, Janet

  4. Janet, you do me a great favor just by reading all my inane posts, so don't even worry about any of the rest. As the spirit moves you, and all that.