What We Can Learn About Sports from Wendy Davis

Yesterday, I had off from KQED because I had to conduct an interview for my public access TV show (which, if you’re super into Marin County news, you can watch). BUT, and this was a big but, if the Supreme Court decision on Prop. 8 and DOMA came out, then I needed to go into the office, which we wouldn’t even know until 7 a.m. or so — because it was going to be all hands on deck at that point. This was going to particularly problematic because we’d have to last minute cancel the TV shoot and I’d have to get into the KQED office, even though Steve was taking the car to Sacramento, which was going to be hard, etc, etc.

So, even though I really wanted to know how Prop. 8 would turn out earlier than now — though actually I just want to know how a group of nine people just get to decide stuff — man, I was sort of hoping we could wait one more day.

I ended up getting to stay home, do my interview, watch TV, do work, think about working out (it was raining and I don’t bike in the rain when I’m on a break because you only have so many hours of that in life and you don’t want to waste it), and remembered that working from home is AWESOME.

I then watched the Wendy Davis filibuster on the YouTube.

I don’t really want to get into a debate about abortion, because the debate sort of isn’t a debate I think deserves to be had. But, Texas was voting to pass a law that would close all but five abortion clinics in the state — a big state — making it nearly impossible for women to access the medical care they have a constitutional right to. And, Wendy Davis had to filibuster for 13 hours until the session closed at midnight in order to stop the vote. Filibusters in Texas do not allow you to sit or lean against anything for support. You are not allowed to eat or drink or go to the bathroom. You’re also not allowed to get off-topic when you talk. Think about that. I don’t even like standing for 20′.

You get three warnings for going off-topic, so you have to stay focused on top of not peeing your pants, and after 11 hours Davis got her third warning when she mentioned a previous Texas bill that requires sonograms before an abortion can be performed. That was determined to be not germane and off-topic. Which, I mean, come on.

I, then, watched the live stream for an hour with over 100,000 other people as a complicated and arcane debate over parliamentary rules dragged out about germaine-ness and points of order, trying to use up time until the deadline.

And, throughout it, Wendy Davis stood.

Because if she didn’t, she had yielded the floor. And, around 11:50 p.m. Texas time, the gallery started screaming and still she stood and they screamed and screamed until the midnight deadline. And, I started to cry a little bit. Because, democracy (sort of) and fighting the good fight, but mostly because it was sort of the same as crying during the Olympics when someone does something they shouldn’t be able to do and it has to hurt and it seems impossible — talking about female health policy for 11 hours? — and it’ll probably fail, but maybe it won’t, right.

And, that’s sort of how endurance sports work. It’ll probably fail (it’s still unclear if Davis’ move failed and Republicans just decided to hold the vote after the midnight deadline anyway), but maybe it won’t. The success matters, but the trying matters too. So, put on your pink running shoes and start.

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