This past week Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, dressed in her iconic white suit (a nod to the women suffragettes of the last century), spoke to the full U.S. House of Representatives and announced that she would not seek a leadership role in the upcoming House session that begins in January 2023.
She has been a strong leader of the House for two decades, the first woman Speaker of the House, second in line to the Presidency behind President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Because of her stubborn determination and legislative skill, major legislation, including the passage of the Infrastructure bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Affordable Care Act, have benefited this nation and ordinary working people.
“I am in awe of the majestic miracle that is our democracy,” said Pelosi in her classy, parting remarks. Instead of clinging to power, she made way for the next generation of leadership while remaining in the House of Representatives to be a mentor emeritus of the new, now-minority leadership for the next two years.
Pelosi quoted former President Abraham Lincoln’s speech suggesting nonpartisanship and “the better angels of our nature” be sought in doing the business of the people. Her belief in this democracy was on display, as well as her faith and her fervent desire that our government do right by all of us.
That most likely is wishful thinking, given the incoming majority party. The American people appeared to reject the extreme right-wing, America-first mantra of the election deniers in this election and we showed that we want to get down to a sane, two-party system of government. The middle ground, after all, is where peace and progress are made.
But an element of the new Republican majority appears firmly glued to grievance, grudge, and conspiracy theories, which will likely make the majority party difficult to manage.
It isn’t just that by stepping down Pelosi has deprived the Republican party of their “bogeywoman” target. As the Republicans coveting the Speaker’s gavel show every indication of being willing to fight to the death over that gavel, the pettiness of the lunge for power is apparent.
The agenda they propose: endless investigations into President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic — and for all we know — into Mickey Mouse. What that has to do with the economy, crime, immigration, or energy, and climate change challenges — I don’t know.
It seems to Ark Valley Voice that the criteria that will allow all of us to move on into positive territory are clear — or they appear clear at least for the Democrats: it’s about who can lead this diverse group, who can negotiate, who has the courage and convictions to do what is in the best interest of the country. Pelosi had it.
Pelosi is known for several, now-famous sayings, beginning with this admonition for all women: “no one gives you power, you must take it”. A decade after becoming the leader of her party, she returned power to her caucus. She stood her ground against the authoritarian tendencies of former President Trump and his followers — and so must we.
“The oath of office taken binds us to the generations of the past, to the Constitution and the defense of democracy,” said Pelosi in her parting words … For all of us, our pledge of allegiance is our oath:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America — and to the republic for which it stands …
one nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.”
Featured image: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi confronting former President Donald Trump during a meeting at the White House. The photo tweeted out by Trump after the meeting went viral.