Texas Women Are Targeted at the Capitol on Saturday

A silent protest in support of Planned Parenthood begins to grow

XX, actually, marks the spot.
XX, actually, marks the spot.

Seems there's a bit of an opposition somewhere.

Seems there's a big rally happening at the Texas State Capitol on Saturday from 10am to 3pm. Seems a bunch of people – dozens? a couple hundred? – will be gathering there, with the women among them wearing iconic black-and-white bullseyes on the fronts of their shirts, to protest the imminent cutting of state funds to Planned Parenthood.

I saw this rally mentioned on Facebook yesterday afternoon. Then I saw the news shared on Facebook … and Twitter … and Tumblr. I saw it being shared and huzzahed, soon enough, all over local social media. Buzzing. Building. And I was impressed by the idea of the rally, and gladdened to know that people aren't just going on about their lives willy-nilly while the Bureaucratic Powers That Be continue trying to foist their particular version of morality on the citizenry of the Lone Star State.

In fact, the very idea of this rally – the solidarity of men and women coming together to stage a simple, calm, silent protest against a legislated juggernaut of misogynist oppression – was so powerful that it hyperextended my kneecap of empathy and threw me, for a few moments, over to the other side of decency's spectrum – and into the mindset of some radio-powered rightwing fuckwit, some loutish limbaugh of loudmouthery.

It was in this weirdly altered state that the following brief interview with Kaci Beeler, the woman who instigated the upcoming protest, was conducted on the spur of the moment.

[Note: Just before launching my impromptu assault, I told Beeler only this: "For this interview, I'll be playing the role of an asshole. Just … answer as best and as sincerely as you can."]

Brenner: Ms. Beeler, what's with this political protesting at the Capitol on Saturday? What the hell are you doing?

Beeler: I'm standing together with my friends, peers, and neighbors in solidarity against the idea that someone else is allowed to make major decisions about our lives and our bodies.

Brenner: And you came up with the idea for this particular thing? This wearing-of-targets?

Beeler: I did. I'm a very visual thinker, and the idea just came to me yesterday after reading about the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling over the funding of Planned Parenthood. I felt such deep sadness, such distrust, and I knew others felt that way. I wanted to stand with them, not whining, not screaming, but just recognizing this feeling together. This feeling of being targeted. This feeling of being wrong, just as we are.

Brenner: So this is a women vs. men thing? Because men don't, what, have the sense to make these decisions, is that it?

Beeler: Oh, definitely not. In fact, I want men to come to the silent protest, to stand with their sisters. Men are just as saddened as women by these decisions about women's bodies. We really are in this together, all of it. I also think to break it down that way (women vs. men) is too simple. Imagine us all complexly. I think there are complex reasons for why this is all happening, but I don't think the people in power are thinking very compassionately about the complex people their decisions effect.

Brenner: So you don't think that's where so many of our social problems come from? This arrogant stance of women and their issues, demanding that their voices be heard above, be heeded instead of, the voices of men – men who are competent enough, wise enough to have been elected into these positions of power?

Beeler: It's peculiar. The power to create a life is a frightening thing, for everyone. That much seems clear to me. At the end of the day, the men making these decisions for a majority don't have a body capable in the way a woman's body is. They didn't grow up seeing life the way she does. Having political know-how or political power isn't the same as being all-knowing.

Brenner: When this country, with all the principles we need already built into it, was founded, it was the Founding Fathers, not the Founding Mothers. I'm sure you recall that from your schooling. I'm sure you went to elementary school, at least. Why are you not satisfied with the just rule of the duly elected, with the precepts handed down to us from God himself? Why must you liberals constantly try to destroy all that's decent about this great country of ours?

Beeler: First, did I ever say I was liberal? Second, I can't be satisfied knowing there is policy in place that will literally hurt people. If you know the story then you've seen the statistics. In Texas alone, 40 percent of about 130,000 uninsured patients were given important and necessary care at a Planned Parenthood annually. Have you ever been inside one of those places? It's a doctor's office. Real people work there, and more than that, real people get necessary care there. If the God you're talking about is similar to the one that I've heard of, then I think he would want these women to receive this care. For some women, they don't have anywhere else they know they can go.

What's un-American is turning your back on your sisters. What's un-American is shaming women into making decisions they're not ready to make. You make us feel stupid, uncaring, unfeeling, when you talk about us this way. No one is pro-abortion. Women absolutely dread that decision. And guess what? That's not all that is on the table. We want to be good people and you're making us feel ashamed for being born women. It scares a lot of us, because we grew up saying that pledge, and believing you loved us and cared for us. Especially since you had God there. But now you don't even want to listen to our concerns. I don't think you're living in this moment, looking at what is right in front of you.

And if you're anywhere in agreement with this perspective, friend, I reckon we'll see you at the Capitol on Saturday, 10am-3pm.

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Planned Parenthood, War on Women, Kaci Beeler, Texas State Capitol, misogynist asshole

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