Some things you just can't make up.
During Tuesday's successful filibuster of an anti-abortion bill in the Texas Senate, Democrat Rodney Ellis (Houston) briefly helped Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) with a back brace during her heroic 13-hour marathon. In response, a rotund Republican arose with a "point of order." He said a rule had been broken whereby no member may aid or abet the filibuster-er in any way. He was adamant.
Thanks to the Lt. Governor, also a conservative Republican, the challenge was upheld and counted as one of Wendy's three strikes, another filibuster rule. During debate over this silly point of order, veteran legislator Ellis took the opportunity to remind fellow senators of some not-so-distant history.
In 1977, a Republican staged the longest filibuster in senate history, 43 hours. Several times, this senator needed a bathroom break, which isn't allowed because the rules state that you can't leave the floor. Yet at one point, the Lt. Governor, a Democrat in a Senate then controlled by Democrats, arranged to receive a message from the House chamber, a maneuver that allowed the Republican to briefly depart without his filibuster killed. He was permitted to run to the nearest ladies' room and empty the waste bag he wore beneath his clothes.
He was accompanied by two sergeants-at-arms so that he wouldn't break the filibuster rule of sitting. Not kidding.
At another point during the almost two-day affair, according to Ellis, a group of Republicans got a trash can and literally encircled their colleague on the floor of the Senate so he could privately handle his business right there and continue onward.
Aiding and abetting, indeed. Yes, Virginia, democracy can sometimes include... latrine duty?
Neither side of the aisle considered any of this a violation at the time. It was simply being gracious. Ah, but it wasn't a female member fighting to block a draconian abortion bill in an era of right-wing extremism. Gloves off, back brace be damned!
I must be clueless. I don't understand the mindset of modern Republicans. Then again, perhaps I do. Maybe there really is a war on women raging within today's GOP. Ask Wendy Davis the next time you see her, and believe me, you'll see her. She's now a rising star.
The Republicans have seen to it, bless their hearts.