Senator Wendy Davis Draws a Line in the Dirt | News | Dallas | Dallas Observer | The Leading Independent News Source in Dallas, Texas


Senator Wendy Davis Draws a Line in the Dirt

Hooray for Wendy: Thankfully, once in a while the political system churns out a Wendy Davis, the 48-year-old Senate freshman from Fort Worth who filibustered Governor Rick Perry's legislative session to a grave Sunday night.

How was this going to end otherwise? Perry has engineered the session as a vicious assault on public education, Medicaid, the poor and minorities. He's likely going to use these credentials in his fight for the Republican presidential nomination. Meanwhile the state he leaves behind will slide closer toward the Third World.

As things were going, the Democrats seemed to be more or less holding their peace and hoping to preserve their own re-election prospects, though most of them are from safe districts anyway. In the process, they were going to share the blame for what the Perrypublicans are about to wreak.

Why share? Let them wreak.

Davis comes from an unsafe district she took from state Senator Kim Brimer in 2008 by 2.4 percent of the vote. But Davis obviously has a longer view than her own re-election. A single mom who started in community college and wound up at Harvard Law School, she told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "I proudly stood up for keeping public education adequately funded. I think we cannot be, should not be, silenced based on threats that it could be worse."

Her 79-minute speech Sunday stopped the Legislature from passing a school finance bill before the clock ran out on the session. And how are the Republicans reacting? They are vowing to punish Davis, punish Democrats, punish the poor, punish minorities and punish public education.

Please, Perrypublicans: Show us your true colors. Toss some more grandmas out of their nursing homes. Give us some time so that thousands more minority kids qualified to attend UT or A&M can find out you have whacked scholarship money.

Most of all, let us escape from this slimy myth you have propagated that gutting the budget for public education isn't really going to hurt public education much. We want you to get full credit for what you are doing.

Davis helped get the Democrats off this very bad bandwagon. What the hell were they doing on it in the first place?

Maybe you have to get all the way from community college to Harvard Law School to understand how long the road is and how important it is to see around corners. In the not too distant future, the political rewards handed out in this country will not go to Democrats who knuckled under.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze

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