Host Melissa Harris-Perry directs an open letter at Texas governor Rick Perry, whose comments after the filibuster of an anti-abortion bill he prizes came off like "the villain who twirls his mustache and laughs while a speeding train is headed toward the woman you've tied to the tracks."
The success of the latest Superman reboot left me wondering: Can a sista get a superheroine for a change? Well, someone must have been listening—because this week, I got my wish.
Instead of a man of steel, we got a woman with backbone when Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis used the powers endowed to her—not by a yellow sun—but by the citizens of Texas to save the day. But of course, every great superhero must also square off against an equally evil archenemy.
And while Sen. Davis is fully capable of taking on her nemesis on her own, I thought I’d play sidekick and give him a few kicks with my letter this week.
Dear Gov. Rick Perry,It’s me, Melissa.You sir, have taken the term “adding insult to injury” to an all new low this week.It was bad enough that you forced the Texas legislature to extend its legislative session for an additional 30 days for the express purpose of adding legislation to restrict reproductive choice.Two dozen anti-abortion bills that all failed to reach the floor of either chamber after your fellow party members in the legislature figured out what you seem to have some trouble comprehending: Texans don’t like it when you try to erect barriers against women’s health care.But you just couldn’t stand to leave well enough alone, could you?You just had to give the legislature another shot at banning abortion after 20 weeks, and passing laws to force 37 of Texas’ 42 abortion providers to shut down. Governor, you are so hell-bent on pushing your agenda of outlawing all abortion that I’m sure it came as somewhat of a surprise to you when the people pushed back.Since you clearly have a problem hearing what they want, Texans raised their voices—literally shouting to be heard—and led by a champion of the people, whose message was clear: Preserving the right to women’s reproductive choice is the only choice.Well guess that hearing problem of yours was acting up again, because when Wendy Davis spoke, you apparently heard something entirely different.Let’s put aside for the moment the irony of you holding forth on the sanctity of every life, right before you went and oversaw Texas’s 500th death by execution. Because what’s really unfortunate is that you haven’t learned from Wendy Davis’ example. She recognizes that all she has been able to accomplish was thanks in part to having what Sen. Davis called “the privilege of making a choice.”You, on the other hand, have chosen to use your privilege to hurt instead of help women. With yet another special session to resurrect the bill that Sen. Davis and her pro-choice allies succeeded in killing. To restore what you called, “the breakdown of decorum and decency.”Please spare me all the decency talk. Because really, what would you know about decency? What’s decent about refusing a Medicaid expansion and leaving 1.5 million poor, elderly, and disabled Texans without health coverage? There was certainly nothing decent about defunding your state’s family planning clinics last year, leaving more than 140,000 Texas women without health services, and forced to carry 30,000 unintended pregnancies to term. And punctuating all that by saying this week, ”The louder they scream the more we know that we are getting something done.”Be careful, governor. You’re looking a lot like the villain who twirls his mustache and laughs while a speeding train is headed toward the woman you’ve tied to the tracks. Although you might want to take a closer look at that train. Because Sen. Davis has been hinting that she might be interested in your job.Right now there’s a lot of momentum behind the Wendy Davis Express. And it’s headed right for you.Sincerely, Melissa.