Celebrated atheist Richard Dawkins is one of the founding voices of the “Bright Movement,” the shorthand of which defines those persons who hold exclusively to the naturalistic/scientific narrative of our origins are heretofore to be known as “Brights,” and those who don’t, well, aren’t. I won’t debate the obvious disadvantages of such a divisive bifurcation except to observe that the late Christopher Hitchens was opposed to it, which is ‘nuff said, for me at least.
Nevertheless, when contemplating the moral and rational gulf that yawns, at times toothlessly, between Republicans and Democrats, Trump Supporters and Trump Detractors, or, in strict observance of my previous word ordering, Morons and the Rest of Us, one is tempted anyway to “go there” – were it not for one thing: our bloody-minded proclivity to eat our young. And sometimes our not so young.
I’m referring to Nancy Pelosi. As Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2007 until 2011, and Minority Leader since, Pelosi has achieved one of the most successful legacies in the House’s storied history.
When George W Bush launched his draconian Social Security privatization drive, Nancy Pelosi rallied Democrats to fight – and win – a nine month battle of opposition. Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, justly credited with rescuing the nation from the worst of the recession, passed thanks to Pelosi’s deft rallying of all House Democrats.
Last May, when the repeal of the Affordable Care Act seemed likely, Pelosi ensured that the three Democrats who had originally voted against it, and nine Democrats in Trump-heavy districts, all voted against the repeal with the rest of the House Democrats. Pelosi’s many other legislative triumphs are well known. These victories led Thomas Mann, of the Brookings Institution, to call Pelosi the “strongest and most effective Speaker of modern times.”
So what, exactly, do so many people have against Nancy Pelosi? Are we really so blind to this old familiar landscape? A woman can serve in Congress and remain popular so long as she is not perceived as smart, powerful and effective. It is doubtful anyone would have any complaint about Nancy Pelosi but for one thing: that she is a woman. In January she will reacquire the Speaker’s gavel that she so ably grasped before. It’s time for us to get smart, and get the hell off Nancy Pelosi’s back.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.