The Power of the Pelosi Moment
The absolute power oozing from Nancy Pelosi, clad in Armani sunglasses, a MaxMara coat, and Stuart Weitzman pumps was heady to watch this week. Many of us couldn’t get enough of the exchange in the Oval Office, the press conference outside the White House, and maybe most stunningly, the walk from one to the other in the aforementioned outfit.
It’s still rippling over me, in memes where Pelosi leaves a White House in flames behind her or in gifs that set her strut to the Peter Gunn Theme as she dons her shades.
Sure, part of it is that someone of the female persuasion who knows how to wield power and shares my name held the President accountable in a historic space that should have been a home court advantage of sorts for him. I find that all kinds of inspiring. But I just realized this is the rousing kernel in it:
That moment, that meeting, signaled change is afoot.
Blessed be on all that is holy. Let me say it again:
Change is afoot.
After two years of feeling like Donald Trump has his foot on my neck, Nancy Pelosi has freed my windpipe just a little. Just enough to let more air in. Ahhhhh … breath. Sheer breath. May we revel in the return of breathing.
As we bring a close to one year and usher in another, how heartening is this?
This is not about politics. Not really. Sure, I’d like the Democratic House of Representatives to bring back the fantastic health insurance I had this year. And I have other wishes that would fall in the political category. But this energized feeling is not about political matters, but moral ones.
I began this day seeing the faces of the children who were slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School six years ago. And a photo of a Jewish cemetery in France desecrated with 37 swastikas. And the story of a 7-year-old girl who died from dehydration while trying to flee an oppressive regime and gain some measure of safety in this country. This, as scandals continued to rain down on the President of the United States, who can’t stop lying because it’s all he knows. That’s been proven, tracked, confirmed.
He’s about to stop getting away with things, though. What (eventually) comes with that is this — we get to go back to shaming white supremacy, quelling the fears of our Jewish citizens and people of color. Maybe in a twisted way Trump has done us a favor by showing us how many are among us that suddenly felt free to express and not be hampered by “political correctness” upon his election and the subsequent rollout of rallies.
Which brings us back to Pelosi. Because among the red meat the President tossed out at those rallies was a series of names and issues designed to rile up the crowd. No need to say anything but “Maxine Waters” or “Nancy Pelosi” to hear the boos and jeers. Just tell them the liberals want wide open borders. What a great applause line. It detracts from the fact that Mexico isn’t paying for the wall.
While I was in a local eatery this week, a Trump supporter I know was watching closely on his phone to see what Michael Cohen’s prison sentence would be. “Three years,” he crowed. “What does that have to do with Trump?” Then with a smirk he asked his phone to bring up the Dow.
In mid-November The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story on Pelosi. Another bad-ass photo of her in orange, this time a pantsuit with matching pumps. Old school feminism used to tell us we shouldn’t focus on what a woman is wearing because it takes away from her skills and it’s sexist. Well, I’m tossing that rule out the window. The clothes confer power. They send a message.
Maybe it’s only a subtle message to some men and women who don’t have an interest in fashion. But for many of us, it’s a form of communication. I’ve long agreed with the sentiment that for the most part women dress for other women. This isn’t about labels or name dropping, more a declaration of knowing who we are. Cultivating a style takes confidence. You know how many women couldn’t pull off wearing that orange suit? Many.
Nancy Pelosi knows who she is.
In the aforementioned magazine piece by Robert Draper, this was my favorite paragraph:
When I asked Pelosi whether Democratic leaders had ever encouraged her to rise in the ranks, she scoffed. “They didn’t ever invite me to a meeting,” she said. “The only time I was ever in the Democratic speaker’s office was when I became speaker. When I decided to run, the first thing I heard was: ‘Who said she could run?’ Oh, light my fire, why don’t you! Then they said, ‘Why don’t women just make a list of things they want done, and we’ll do them?’ We’re not talking about the 1800s — we’re talking about 19 years ago!”
Light my fire, indeed.
Having just finished Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, this reminded me of where she talked about the school counselor who told her she wasn’t Princeton material. We know how that turned out.
Meanwhile, who else showed up on my social media feeds this week? Christine Blasey Ford. In a video from afar, she presented Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year Award to Rachael Denhollander, a lawyer and former gymnast who was the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor, of sexual assault.
“Rachael Denhollander, I am in awe of you, and I will always be inspired by you,” Ford said. “In stepping forward, you took a huge risk and you galvanized future generations to come forward, even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them. The lasting lesson is that we all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others.”
Yes. It is time to reclaim our world. I think the President has unwittingly empowered us to do this.
Bring on 2019.