Thursday, January 04, 2007
C'mon homie, we major!
The times they are a-changing. Every conservatives nightmare has just come to pass. The Jezebel who represents the liberals playground that is San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury is just a mere two indictments away from the Oval Office. But when Nancy Pelosi took her oath as Speaker of the House and used that inaugural opportunity to imbue the event with tales from the apron strings, out came the claws from the right, left and those in between. Here was the highest-ranked woman ever to achieve elected office in the United States, proudly speaking about crashing through the barriers of the U.S. Capitol, but flooding the dais with children and bragging about her journey from "kitchen to Congress." What gives? I certainly don't think of myself as a hardliner, Birkenstock-wearing, bra burning feminist of the highest order. And I don't feel like Speaker Pelosi committed an act of treason. How unfair is it to ask women who stump on the Hill to somehow transcend their gender when every other facet of their political life is dictated by lack of a Y chromosome?
"Now there was a time when they used to say
That behind every great man
There had to be a great woman
But in these times of change, you know
That it's no longer true
So we're coming out of the kitchen
'Cause there's something we forgot to say to you
We say... sisters are doing it for themselves."
What Nancy Pelosi did was share unashamed pride on her brood. Too many on the Right pay lip service to children and family. Too many on the Left (particularly feminists, go figure) are quick to disrespect a woman who chooses to be a parent, let alone a good one.
It's not so much that she felt compelled to publicize her familial history, but as of now that sort of thing that remains the exception for male politicians but still the rule for women. A very wise columnist once said that every woman running for office must mention her husband and kiddies, and how she "plans to combine her work with her family," but nobody expects a man to discuss the same. Several decades later, this is still pretty much the case. Pelosi has impeccable "woman credentials" for all those who are afraid of castrating spinster bitches in power.
Perhaps what our elected officials need is a daily reminder of why this all matters. Imagine the career of Strom Thurmond had he chosen to include all of his children. Including Essie Mae Washington, the unplanned and unwanted result of a funny valentine I like to call rape. It would be quite a doozy for our elected officials to also invite to the podium each of their adulterous affairs, as well, and any offspring they produced.
In the heart of New England, if you thought a Black candidate didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected to the governor's office, it wouldn't seem all that far fetched. Especially when you consider that Beantown isn't exactly known for being the Eastern seaboard's bastion of racial harmony in its not-so-distant past. After 16 years of divisive wedge issue politics and presidential posturing by a fraud like Mitt Romney, I'm ecstatic that with Gov. Deval Patrick at the helm, the people of Massachusetts will be able to reacquaint themselves with what good government feels like.
As progressive and inherently superior as we in the Western world tend to view ourselves, it's interesting to note that three Muslim nations (Pakistan, Bangladesh & Indonesia), two of which have very strong fundamentalist movements of their own, have elected women as prime ministers. So when it comes to equality and freeing the Middle East from tyranny, we've still got a long way to go in our own backyard.
The first Black governor elected to represent MA and only the second overall, period. The first ever female speaker of the House. Small steps for mankind, quantum leaps for this country as a whole. Politics as usual? Let's hope not.
"This is an historic moment - for the Congress, and for the women of this country. It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren't just waiting, women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling.
The election of 2006 was a call to change - not merely to change the control of Congress, but for a new direction for our country. Nowhere were the American people more clear about the need for a new direction than in Iraq.
The American people rejected an open-ended obligation to a war without end. Shortly, President Bush will address the nation on the subject of Iraq. It is the responsibility of the President to articulate a new plan for Iraq that makes it clear to the Iraqis that they must defend their own streets and their own security, a plan that promotes stability in the region, and that allows us to responsibly redeploy American forces.
Let us be the Congress that rebuilds our military to meet the national security challenges of the 21st century.
Let us be the Congress that strongly honors our responsibility to protect our people from terrorism.
Let us be the Congress that never forgets our commitment to our veterans and first responders, always honoring them as the heroes they are.
The American people also spoke clearly for a new direction here at home - they desire a new vision, a new America, built on the values that made our country great."
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