Don’t mess with Texas women

I am a Texas woman.

There. I said it.

To my Texan brethren, I am a Yankee. Fine. I’m a Texan Yankee. Whatever.

But, I was born in Brenham, Tx, home to the finest ice cream on the planet, and descend from the men and women who defended the Alamo long before Texas was a part of the United States. There is nothing more beautiful to me than a field filled with Texas bluebonnets. Nothing. Texas, as much as it completely baffles me, is still home. And, I am proud of my family’s heritage in the history of that most enigmatic of states. The steaks do taste better. The mosquitoes are gigantic. The TexMex is the finest anywhere (of course — ‘Texas’ is right there in the name!), and the margaritas flow bigger and colder than anywhere I’ve ever been.

All of these things are now things which fill me with a sense of pride at my Texan heritage.

I lost the accent long ago (something about being 3 and sounding incredibly different to all the other kids made that a lightning-fast loss), and I talk faster than a Texas twister I’ve been told on more than one occasion. I was a vegetarian for many years to the utter disbelief of some. Once I became active and cognizant of the political sphere as an undergraduate, I became not just a {gasp} Democrat, but a god-less liberal (resulting in many a family ‘intervention’ at holidays and visits). I do not own a gun, nor do I hunt. When I still had a car, I drove a Japanese car. And, I lived far, far North of the Mason-Dixon line when I last lived in the US.

Perhaps the parts of that heritage which resonate most soundly with me, however, are the attitudes and sass of just about everyone I know there, which rival none. We like our sass as big as our trucks and hats — super sized. The two phrases in my own family which carried the most meaning were ‘Don’t mess with Texas’ and ‘Don’t cross Grandma’. (My dearest darling grandmother, Katharine, to whom I owe much of my own personality now, was the strongest, most intelligent woman I’ve ever known. And, she was Texan through and through.)

Despite the many reasons I am proud of being a Texas woman by birth, yesterday’s utter insanity in the state Senate (along with Texas politics, in general) is a big reason why I am reluctant to shout my heritage from the rooftops.

For those sleeping under rocks or completely tuned out from all news and media outlets, the Texas Senate was poised on Tuesday to pass a sweeping bill which would eliminate 37 of the 42 clinics in the state that provide abortion services to Texas women*. (They are also acting incredibly fast to enact legislation which would make it harder for poor and minority citizens to vote in elections.) This is the state whose Governor refuses to expand Medicaid services with federal funds, despite having one of the highest percentages of uninsured individuals in the country. This is also the state in which spending on family planning services across the board were cut by two-thirds in 2011. Thus, not only will Texas women be unable to access abortion services, they won’t be able to prevent unintended pregnancies to prevent the necessity of seeking such services. Social benefits are hard to come by for poor Texans given the state’s largely conservative mentality.

Despite not living there for a long, long while, as a Texas woman I’d like to thank Senator Wendy Davis for her courageous and sadly necessary attempt to thwart the insanity in the state Senate yesterday. Even if ‘dirty tactics’ by the state GOP circumvent her filibuster, she stood up for all women across Texas and we witnessed the tenacity and bravery of a woman who said ‘no more’. And, she did so with grace, dignity and quiet contemplation. She did so in the tradition of those who fought for Texas Independence at the Alamo so long ago and gave us reasons to be proud of our heritage and state.

State Senator Wendy Davis is a hero among ‘thieves’ (in this case, thieves = Texas GOP politicians), to adapt and borrow a favourite phrase. And, she stood with honour yesterday, and provides yet another reason for me to be proud to be a Texan. And, prouder still be a Texan woman.

I #StandwithWendy and all Texas women, even those with whom I disagree.

I #StandwithWendy and all Texas women, even those with whom I disagree. (Image from Sarah Baker @bakerbk)

*I don’t want to go into the whole abortion debate, which is basically impossible here. To me, it’s no one’s business but a woman’s. What she chooses to do is between her and her doctor and partner. That’s all I’m saying here.

One thought on “Don’t mess with Texas women

  1. Pingback: Come on, Texas. Really? | A Tropical Fish Out of Water

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