How Politics Can Make You Happy, Regardless of Where You Stand
Abortion: Choice and Life are Different Debates
First, let’s clear up something about the public discourse on abortion and laws: There are at least two major debates that have almost nothing to do with each other. The most popular ones I hear are:
(1) A debate about women’s rights.
(2) A debate about when an egg becomes a human being.
This is important because it helps us understand that “the other side” is not crazy, or evil, or haters. There are loving, compassionate, logical, and highly educated people on all sides of this issue, and they’re often talking apples and oranges. This can relieve an immense amount of unhappiness, and make us more effective at listening to people and offering other ways of seeing instead of cramming our view down their throats (which never works).
Bottom line: Most everyone agrees that we shouldn’t kill babies, and most everyone agrees that women deserve the right to do what they want with their bodies. From this point of view we can understand that people do dumb things in the name of worthy causes—causes we all stand for regardless of political party such as protecting innocent lives or protecting the rights of women.
The Courage of Wendy Davis
From this point of view, it’s inspiring to see someone stand up for a cause they believe in. Wendy Davis is the first female Texas Senator to filibuster, ever. That’s a huge step for women’s rights and recognition, regardless of where people stand on the bill, and signifies a shifting culture. This brings me happiness.
Bonus: as a man it’s one less thing I have to be blamed for in oppressing women. Plus I don’t have to be the only sex allowed to fillibuster.
The Power of Social Media
More than 730,000 tweets were sent out regarding the filibuster, with more than 5,576 tweets per minute around 11:58 pm. (1) Just before midnight, more than 180,000 people were watching the YouTube livestream of the Senate Session, and the footage was terrible. This is huge, not just because there was no network coverage, but because it demonstrated that civic participation is absolutely not a thing of the past. We care about politics at a state level, and we’re willing to do something about it.
This wasn’t just a thing on the internet: thousands of Austinites crowded the capitol. Social media, and twitter in particular, helped rally people to physically gather and make a difference—not just in theory, but in practice.
Democracy is Alive and Well in Texas
The simple fact is that the crowd finished the last ten minutes of the filibuster by sheer noise. The legislature tried to take a vote, but they couldn’t because of the crowd’s volume. They finally voted a few minutes after midnight, and it would have passed. The legislature tried to still pass it, claiming that the vote occurred before midnight, but 180,000 live viewers wouldn’t stand for it and the Lt. Governor reversed the decision.
This is an incredible day of empowerment for the people. It proves that we can make a difference in legislation, and we can hold our government accountable. That’s something worth celebrating, regardless of your political persuasion.
More from DailyHap on politics: It’s Not Too Late to Save America From the Scourge of Politics