After another interval, Roy Sherwood answered.
“What’re you doin’?” Fenstemaker boomed.
“Sleeping,” Roy Sherwood said. “Real good, too.”
“Hell of a note,” Fenstemaker said, “World’s cavin’ in all round us; rocket ships blastin’ off to the moon; poisonous gas in our environment … sinful goddam nation … laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers. My princes are rebels and companions of thieves … “
“… a horror and a hissing …”
“Who the hell is this?”
“Isaiah,” Fenstemaker said. “The Prophet Isaiah.”
“I’m going to hang up in just about three seconds,” Roy said. “But first I’d really like to know who the hell this is.”
“Arthur Goddam Fenstemaker. Hah yew?”
Thus does the fictional governor of Texas, Arthur Goddam Fenstemaker, call a bright but underperforming state senator to battle in Billy Lee Brammer's The Gay Place, the greatest novel about Texas politics.
What fresh hells are these?
These days we feel like a sinful goddam nation, laden with iniquity. In the just-completed month of June – for which end we should be by god grateful – we've seen the following fresh hells: the continued tragedy of an elementary school massacre,, the Great Climate Backslide, congressional hearings about plots to overthrow a free and fair election, grotesquely mismanaged coverups of school massacres, forest fires in one state with torrential flooding next door, deranged major political party platforms, gunslingers in the streets of New York, plots to overthrow the Constitution, pardon requests from people plotting to overthrow the Constitution, helpless migrants dying in tractor-trailers, and so forth.
This fresh-hell-a-minute stuff is exhausting. These are soul-wearying times. Believers (like me) in the slow, inexorable progress of humanity are having to reevaluate the timetables of progress, if not also the ultimate direction. I am not ready to give up on the United States, or even Texas – which has become a Lost Cause in the last 20 years – yet. But I do want to take this Independence Day weekend to regroup and recalibrate. And I join many women in not celebrating this Independence Day, because they feel less independent in this nation of ours than they did a year ago.
SCOTUS reverses Roe v. Wade in landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision
In keeping with the now-ubiquitous journalistic practice after mass shootings, here's what we know about the victims:
- Millions of American women have lost constitutional protection of their freedom to choose to have an abortion.
- Between 2016 and 2020, an average of 136,235 American women were forcibly raped each year. If the trend continues and some of those women become pregnant, they have lost constitutional protection of their choice to terminate that pregnancy, and many will have to carry their rapist’s babies to term and raise them.
- Approximately three percent of babies born in the United States are affected by birth defects. These genetic disorders account for about 20 percent of all infant deaths. The ability to terminate a pregnancy due to a profound or fatal genetic deformity is being limited or even eliminated altogether in states that have imposed new abortion restrictions in the wake of the Dobbs decision.
- About 100,000 women suffer ectopic pregnancies every year. An abortion is part and parcel of the treatment for an ectopic pregnancy, every time, 100% of the time. But a physician may be reluctant to perform that life-saving procedure in moral deserts like Texas that not only ban abortion but deputize bounty hunters to plunder the lives of anyone associated with performing an abortion.
More victims are being identified on a daily basis, and their status is being clarified. Stay tuned for updates. No wonder so many women are not celebrating this Independence Day weekend.
Barbara Jordan said, “What the people want is very simple - they want an America as good as its promise.” Many – I daresay most, even if they won't admit it – women feel betrayed these days. So do millions of people of color, and LGBTQIA+ people, and DREAMers, and immigrants, and the poor and hungry, and the medically needy. And so many others.
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet will not be enough for this. It's time to rededicate ourselves to an America that lives up to its promise.