This week has been crazy. Between striking down DOMA and Wendy Davis’ herculean effort to block anti-abortion legislation in Texas, many progressives believe that they should be celebrating.
We shouldn’t be, not yet.
I’m not trying to quell the excitement over how spectacular it is that DOMA was struck down. Trust me, I’m ecstatic for all of my friends and family who will be able to get married, like really married. It sets an amazing precedent for all legal marriages between LGBTQ couples, granting them the thousands of national benefits they deserve. This is a major victory, but for whom? It’s a victory for all the states that have legalized marriage for LGBTQ citizens already…which is only 12 states and D.C. out of 50. What about the rest of the country? For a couple in Utah, the victory is bittersweet: maybe someday, maybe someway. DOMA is a huge victory paving the way for a state-by-state campaign for marriage equality, but it’s just the beginning.
Wendy Davis. Now there’s a lady who really stood up for what she believed in, for 12 hours and 50 minutes straight to be exact. She was fighting a bill that would’ve closed all but 5 of the abortion clinics in the State of Texas. The requirements are summed up nicely in this Christian Science Monitor article:
“The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Also, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles — a tall order in rural communities.”
This was definitely a bill worth fighting. This Harvard Law graduate, and former single-mother of two’s filibuster created a firestorm of support; and she became an overnight progressive celebrity. In the end, she came up 10 minutes short with her 3rd strike of the filibuster. Then something amazing happened, the packed crowd began chanting, “let her speak” so loudly for the last 10 minutes that the vote didn’t go through. The people of Texas killed the bill.
It was an inspirational moment for all of us. However, it isn’t over yet. Esteemed Gov. Rick Perry announced (on the eve of Texas’ 500th execution) that, “In Texas, we value all life”, and that he would be returning the bill to the state senate yet again. We live to fight another day, but Wendy Davis and the people of Texas can’t do it alone.
Be happy about these victories, but then get angry for your fellow citizens who aren’t being treated as human beings. Lift up Wendy Davis, but don’t leave her alone up there. We cannot, as citizens of the United States, accept a small piece of change and be satisfied. We must demand more. If the polls aren’t lying, a majority of us believe in marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose. Being a silent majority is no longer an option. We have a government that has been hijacked by radicals who care more about telling minorities and women that they don’t deserve equality in life and choice than governing.
What’s worse than these lunatics is all of us; at least they’re fighting for what they believe in. I’m sick of my parent’s generation calling us spoiled millennials who care more about our phones and facebook than what’s going on in our country, in our world. I respect solidarity in FB posts and profile pictures, but I refuse to accept that it’s all we’re capable of.
The people of Brazil took to the streets to demand change by the tens of thousands, and won. They demanded that their government be accountable to them, and now it’s happening. We’re allegedly the greatest country in the world, why don’t we start acting like it? Instead of just saying that we’re a beacon of freedom, let’s actually become one. We are more interconnected than any other generation in the history of our planet. We have the numbers, we have the infrastructure, we just need the push. It’s time to get angry, it’s time to act upon the morals we believe in.
Remember how riled up our whole nation got around a man who ran for President in 2008? I miss those days of newscasters telling the world, “look how energized the youth are”. I yearn for that energy again, not over a politician, but over a set of ideals. Whether you’re a programmer, carpenter, writer, mathematician, plumber, teacher, whatever; in the end, you’re a citizen of something bigger than your occupation. We have an obligation to the people who don’t have voices in our country to make a difference; we have an obligation to leave our children with something more. We can be better, all of us, I know we can.
There are many things that happened this week that we should be proud of. But there is only one thing we should take away: this is a call to action, not a cause of celebration…not yet. We have work to do America, and I believe in you.