What is our final recourse?
by Dane Manuel
Recently, the Texas House State Affairs Committee bypassed the will of its constituents and voted on an abortion bill without allowing all who wished to testify to speak. This bill would force all but five abortion clinics in Texas to shut down. The bill, name House Bill 60, would require any clinic providing abortion services to meet several costly requirements. Requirements such as active admission privileges to a hospital that provides ob/gyn services, forcing compliance with standards for ambulatory surgical clinics, and requiring medications to be administered in person.
The controversial nature of the bill aside, the committee played an underhanded move to get what they wanted. Byron Cook (R), the chairman of the committee, was deluged by a small army of individuals who opposed the bill and instead of allowing each to testify as is their right, he ended the session. Normally this wouldn't raise any eyebrows, especially since they stopped in the early hours of the morning, however the committee quietly reconvened on Friday, without letting anyone know, and passed the bill. I want to say it again, they cleared the room by ending the session, then reconvened later without letting anyone know so they could vote. They bypassed the filibuster, they denied citizens and right to testify before their government.
If the bill was one that was supported by the people, then there would have been no filibuster and the day would have proceeded normally. However, these committee members knew that at least the vocal minority would stop them so they resorted to trickery to get their way. A trickery that goes far beyond the chicanery of day to day politics. If this were a bill for gun control being proposed by an all democratic committee, there would be no place for those members to hide because the NRA would hunt them down, but because this bill is nowhere near touching the second amendment, they are allowed to do as they please. There is hope that the bill can be defeated on the floor of the house because the laws were not followed, but I am more skeptical. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has the power to suspend rules as he sees fit in a special session and I do not doubt that he will use that power to quash any attempts at stopping this bill.
So here is the rub, if the government, whom we have placed our trust in, is deliberately passing laws to oppress a group and nothing can stop them, then what is the final recourse of the people? If I were as adamant about gun rights as I was about other subjects, then I would simply do as many of the far right leaning would do and call for an armed overthrow of the government. But I am not, nor do I support the idea of an armed revolution. I, unlike too many, choose to use my words. I write, I speak, and I debate. How can I call myself civilized if I have to rely upon the tip of the sword to do what the pen should do in its place? How can we be an intelligent and informed electorate if those in power do not research the facts and disregard the hyperbole? How does one respond to deception in a civilized way?
We vote. We run for office ourselves. We get involved in the political process. The companies may pay for the campaigns, but in the end, the voters are the ones who decide. When the voters are informed and not idly sitting and believing all the politician says, the true nature of those who seek the power to represent you are revealed.