Friday, July 05, 2013

The 5th of July


I'm never entirely comfortable with the patriotic holidays. It's important to remember the men and women who died for our country on Memorial Day, but at the same time I don't want to glorify war. And while I'm glad Columbus "discovered" America, because for the most part, I like living here, it feels wrong to celebrate at the expense of the Native Americans. And Labor Day, during which we are plied with beer and patted on the back for devoting our lives to a rigorous work schedule that barely makes a dent in our debt and leaves us too tired to join the revolution. America! Yay!  

The Fourth of July was especially hard this year - between all the sneaky anti-abortion bills slipping through various state Senates (North Carolina is trying its best to follow in Texas' footsteps), the NSA leaks and the search for Snowden, and the fact that my good friends aren't allowed to get married in their home state (to name just a few) it's hard to feel very "free" or "independent." 

And then Wendy Davis slipped on her pink Mizunos and literally stood up for the women of Texas, and I was overwhelmed with unexpected pride for the place where I lived for so long. I've been inspired by Davis' grit and determination, awed by her epic filibuster (she wore a catheter!), and proud of the women and men who flooded the Texas Senate to stand with her. I've read countless articles and essays, and cried my eyes out, and daydreamed about Davis running for governor. I've considered moving back to Texas just so I can run her campaign team. And even though it looks like the bill Davis fought for so many hours will pass anyway, the hope I felt when she stood up to those men on behalf of all women - on behalf of me - still lingers. 

And so yesterday, on America's Independence Day, I thought of Wendy Davis, and of all the people who are oppressed and disadvantaged and treated unfairly by our government, and I thought about how we fight back every day, in a thousand small ways, and how that will eventually add up to something big and bold and beautiful. I know there is so much to do, so many wrongs to right, but I feel like we're inching slowly in that direction. That's something I can feel good about celebrating.