It has been a very long time since I have been to a political event. This is not because I am disinterested in politics, as anyone who reads me knows. The truth is since my shooting I have an abiding fear of crowds. It is difficult for me to quell my fear, to stop my heart beating outside of my chest. Nevertheless, I did it. In fact, I did it twice in one day and I am glad I did.
On 3-October-2013, Texas Senator Wendy Davis announced she was entering the race for Governor. I was there! The invocation by Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks was old school church, moving and at times funny. In my mind, his most appropriate request:
“We ask you, Lord, to change her pink running shoes into combat boots … so she can do battle against the negative forces that rule this state”.
Following the invocation, former TXU executive Alex Jimenez introduced Senator Davis with his own story of climbing from pole setter to Vice President at the largest power company in Texas. His story was met with cheers from the crowd even if his former employers name was met with jeers. Mr. Jimenez provided a fabulous backdrop to what is possible in Texas, just as Ms. Davis does. Their friendship extends back to her days on the Fort Worth City Council where she chaired the Council on Economic development.
Ms. Davis bounded onto the stage as “This Girl is on Fire” by Alicia Keyes played, the crowd was on their feet and enthusiasm was obvious. I must tell you, my nerves were on edge even as I was happy to be there, excited to be part of Texas politics and thrilled to see a woman of integrity with values close to my own fearlessly stand up knowing just how hard this next year was going to be. Make no mistake; this year is going to be hard for Wendy Davis. Even before she announced her intention to run, the attack dogs were out. Before the black drapes were pulled off her campaign signs, the ugly was being prepared and the negative ads were hitting the airwaves in Texas. From outside Texas things were just as nasty, those tweets rolled off, here are just a few examples:
Of course, lest we forget we have our own champions of ignorance right here in Texas and one of them is currently the front-runner in the gubernatorial race. Greg Abbott is a hypocrite, a far right conservative, a friend and supporter of Ted Cruz; the Tea Party was damned near made for his brand of politics. This man got rich because of a freak accident, not just a little rich mind you but $10M or more rich. He is now a fervent advocate of Tort Reform and derides those who represent individuals in personal injury lawsuits. He has also never seen fit to defend or support others with disabilities; in fact, he has more than once made social gaffes like this one:
We can only hope Greg Abbott continues down this path to become the Clayton Williams of this campaign, making it ever so much easier to show the stark contrast of the GOP Neanderthal thinking. Honestly? It doesn’t appear we have made much progress since ole’ Clayton made his ridiculous statements about Ann Richards and rape during their hard fought 1990 campaign. He out spent her 2:1 and was at the time considered a shoe in for the Austin Governor’s Mansion, until this:
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Currently Greg Abbott has approximately $25M in his war chest, much of it from out of state. There are no viable sources to tell us where his current war chest comes from yet. However if the history holds true we can expect when Follow the Money, Open Secrets and other reporting agencies start reporting numbers we will see a similar trend to Mr. Cruz and Mr. Perry, millionaires, Big Business, Banking, Big Oil and the far Right-Wing Paks contributing big dollars to keep Texas Red. The single issue nutcases were already out when I pulled up on Thursday, signs a-waving with “Keep Texas Red” and “Pro-Life Texas”, all I could think was dumbasses. I was hoping for a picture of them but by the time I had parked and walked back the police had moved them off.
It was a good day in Haltom City and later in Fort Worth at the reception. People were energized, applauding during all the speeches. The crowd was mixed, all ages from the very young to the octogenarian, every ethnicity and race was represented on the floor and in the surrounding seats. People were smiling, talking to strangers and kind, even for me with my nerves somewhat frayed by the crowd, it was a good day.
Ms. Davis gave a good speech, she talked about her own humble beginnings and why she cares. She focused on how great Texas could be if we got out from under the yoke of Republican rule and the decimation of our education system and the deep cuts to our healthcare, no not women’s healthcare but our overall Texas Healthcare. She focused on the needs of the state, the needs of all citizens to achieve our goals through opportunity. She spoke for just under 15 minutes and she had the crowd on their feet. Most people don’t know Ms. Davis staged her first filibuster on the $5B cuts proposed by Rick Perry and his cohorts in the Republican Party to our education system. Her most recent filibuster for which she is better known wasn’t her first trip to the rodeo.
Senator Davis ended her announcement with this:
“Until every child from Longview to Lubbock to McAllen to Mesquite makes it to a stage like this, and gets their diploma, and knows that nothing will wash out the road to their future dreams, we will keep going,” she said. “Until the corridors of power are the corridors of the people, until problem-solving trumps partisanship, until our state is ‘a lot less lone and a lot more star,’ we will keep going. As long as we can make this great state even greater, we will keep going. Because with the right kind of leadership, the great state of Texas will keep its sacred promise that where you start has nothing to do with how far you can go.”