And now we have arrived at the Awards Show portion of your New Year’s Eve, O my Wonkers. First big award, for outstanding achievement in the field of Awesomeness in a state legislature, goes to the awesomely awesome Wendy Davis, because you know exactly why. In addition to pulling off a brilliant stand-up act in a very tough room, she also managed, in the course of those 13 hours, to become a national political figure, to make it thinkable that Texas might elect its first Democratic governor since Anne God-Bless-her Richards, and to sell a lot of pink sneakers, although the New York Times mentioned the sneakers well before they mentioned the name of the lady wearing them.
Were there other deserving nominees? There were indeed! There was North Carolina state Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, who after 17 years in the General Assembly said the hell with these idiots and resigned so she could more effectively fight the evil that that body did to democracy last summer. There is Alabama state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, who refused to back down and apologize for her outrageous opinion that a lot of local Republicans have been running against the Idea of Barack Obama — instead of against their actual opponents — because there’s a touch of racism in that. And there’s Arizona — yes, Arizona! — state Rep. Juan Mendez, who managed to give a completely secular, Carl-Sagan-quoting invocation to the state House without even getting tarred and feathered. There were the brave Colorado Senators Angela Giron and John Morse, who voted for modest restrictions on some gun sales and got fed to the NRA.
Oh, but Wendy Davis. She stood and talked for 13 hours, while the ridiculous bullshit of the Texas Senate’s filibuster rules threatened to bring her effort to kill a terrible antiabortion law to a close — and in fact, the Republicans in the Senate almost got away with sneaking a vote in after the deadline had passed. And in a very real way, it wasn’t just Wendy Davis standing up there by herself — she was the lens focusing the anger of a lot of very pissed off Texas women who were tired of a Republican legislature that didn’t hear them. And if all those ladies hadn’t showed up and screamed and twittered, the R’s woulda just not-germaned Davis out of the room and passed the bill easily.
Now, it’s true that the bastards rushed right back into special session and passed the bill anyway. But Davis accomplished one of those important political tricks: She showed some grit — and it was true grit — and she rallied women to not let the bill pass quietly, and she bore the sudden attacks from all over the wingosphere with grace. Why, did you know that she was once a teen mother? And that maybe she had a facelift (or just flattering light)? And through it all she just kept gathering support and campaign cash, and damned if we don’t think pink running shoes make a much better campaign symbol than the Massachusetts guy’s nasty old pickup truck.