We Will Not Yield: A Texan’s Reflections on HB2, the Filibuster, and the Unruly Mob

By Jana Thompson

A year ago today, I was ill and in bed with a fever.  I checked my Facebook account randomly and noticed that my best friend’s mom was at the Texas State Capitol for Senator Davis’ filibuster on House Bill 2.  Afterwards, I checked Twitter and realized it was more than just a few protestors – the gallery was filled with what would later be termed the Unruly Mob.  As someone who grew up in Texas, and in Austin specifically, I was used to the apathy with which most people their view politics.  Seeing such an action in the heart of Texas politics surprised me beyond words.  After the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and many other policies that ate away at reproductive health care access in the state, people were finally standing up and taking notice.

Throughout the day and evening, I was riveted as I watched my social media feeds on live updates from the Texas State Senate gallery as the Republican legislators, who had dreamed up the religion-fueled and blissfully ignorant HB2, took every opportunity and eventually succeeded in shutting down Senator Davis’ filibuster.  I looked on as the Unruly Mob shouted down to try to shut down the vote, and then watched again as the Republicans attempted to certify an illegal post-midnightvote on the bill.

My thoughts afterwards – the Republican legislators obviously haven’t kept up with the science and technology of the day.  The fact that they would try to pass such an obviously bad bill that goes against recommendations from physicians and medical research literature proved that.  The fact that they tried to pass a bill after the deadline, without realizing how many people were watching them on the internet, showed how ignorant they were that the world was watching and that the old Southern good ol’ boy ways wouldn’t work in the same way anymore.

Other thoughts – how pleased I was at hearing Cecile Richards lead the mob in a rendition of ‘The Eyes of Texas’.  After having heard that most Texan of songs my entire life, having sang it at my own graduation from university,  I had never been really moved by it.  But watching that rendition, after such a night, brought tears to my eyes.

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