Thursday, March 09, 2006
The Professor and I went down to Legislative Plaza as planned. I did end up inadvertently showing the guard my underwear, because it's so windy, but I didn't flash my cooter at anyone, since no senators showed up for the press conference to explain themselves. So, yes, here in Tennessee we are one step closer to enshrining a woman's second-class citizenship in our constitution. Only nine senators voted against the amendment. The press conference was a little like a good Irish wake. Folks were crying and hugging, but also catching up with each other and there was some laughter and some smiles. Still, everyone in the room knew that the amendment was going to pass; I think for most of them, it was just seeing it happen, and hearing the vitriol during the debate that made it hard. As for me, I have deeply mixed feelings. I already thought there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that they wouldn't pass the amendment, and so to hear these folks get up in front of the microphones, some of them still sobbing, talking about how this will be the first time the state's constitution is amended to deny rights to a group of people, was really sad. One woman asked how she was supposed to tell rape victims that they can't have abortions and then she started to cry. I did too. But I also am deeply glad I went, because the wide spectrum of women in that room made me really deeply proud. There were grand Southern women in their fancy hats with their refined accents and old hippies and medical students from Vanderbilt and Meharry and women in their work clothes and some just in jeans and t-shirts. And they all seemed grand and noble in a way that made me cry, too. Shoot, maybe I really am becoming a Southerner, after almost a decade. Look at me waxing nostalgic about the inherent honor and dignity of folks fighting a lost cause. Edited to add that Egalia has a great post about the morning's proceedings and explains that we have time to work to educate people and stop this. So, things are dire, but they are not hopeless.