Nancy Pelosi has been involved in politics almost her entire life, ever since she was a little girl running errands for her father who was mayor of Baltimore. But it took until this week for the 78-year-old first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives to make the cover of Time Magazine.
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 6, 2018
Part of Pelosi’s story is her achievement, and part of it is her lack of recognition for what she has achieved. When she became the first woman Speaker in 2009 she didn’t make the cover of Time (or Newsweek) but after she left the Speaker’s job her successor, Republican Rep John Boehner of Ohio, made the cover of BOTH Time and Newsweek immediately.
Her lack of recognition could have been pure sexism. It could have been a pure lack of respect for what she, as a woman, had accomplished in her life. But it also could be that many people were (and are) simply afraid of her, as they recognize how powerful she really is.
The Washington Post wrote that when Pelosi was Speaker it was “a position more powerful than any woman in the nation’s history has held before or since, and one she wielded more effectively than anyone who has held it in modern history.” And then added: “She has consolidated more power than any other Speaker in modern history, scholars of the office believe.”
Now, nearly 10 years after her amazing accomplishment of becoming Speaker of the House, she is finally getting recognized by Time Magazine (although this recognition doesn’t mean as much as it used to mean).
Still, it is worth talking about. And it is something that deserves to be recognized now, as her role in American politics may be more important than it has ever been.
2018 is being called “the year of the woman” in U.S. politics as unprecedented numbers of female candidates seek elected office. There will be a record number of those women candidates who also win their elections and take office, and when that happens we may truly see a revolution take place in this country.
Donald Trump has won political power in part by demeaning and disrespecting women, because his base of supporters is sexist, and that is what they want him to do.
For most women, the lack of respect shown to Pelosi in 2009 was annoying, but tolerable. But under Donald Trump the lack of respect shown towards women is no longer tolerable. He has been accused of sexual assault or harassment over 20 times, and yet he stays in office. This cannot stand.
This year Nancy Pelosi has become the main target of Republicans running for Congress. They claim they must retain their majority in the House in order to keep her out of the Speaker’s chair.
She’s not afraid to stand up and fight for what she believes like she did last week when she called the Trump administration’s plan to keep immigrant children separated from their families indefinitely “inhumane.”
In a sure sign of her effectiveness, she has even been attacked by Vladimir Putin and Russian bots.
Nancy Pelosi may be the most important leader in America, in addition to being the most powerful woman in America. As our country faces a time of crisis unlike any other in its past, and as tens of millions have taken to the streets to join the Resistance and protest against what Trump and his enablers in Congress are doing, we need someone to look up to.
Time Magazine has called it correctly. On its cover this week is the leader America needs — and wants — right now. It is someone our country can really look up to at this time, and recognize for what she has accomplished: Nancy Pelosi.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.