Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Nancy Pelosi: Fighting for All Americans

Nancy Reagan once commented that, “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” In our age of pluralism and acceptance, we find it unbelievably difficult to accept strong woman leaders. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a strong and dedicated leader, and a principled advocate of justice and equality, is the newest target.

The most beautifully ironic aspect to this entire debate is that American women do not campaign on the basis of their gender; they leave that to their opponents. Upon being elected Minority Leader, Pelosi declared, “I didn’t run as a woman, I ran again as a seasoned politician and experienced legislator. It just so happens that I am a woman, and we have been waiting a long time for this moment.”

The Republican Party has made a new political sport out of attempting to discredit and destroy the political prospects of any Democratic woman that chooses to serve her country. In 2000, the Party diverted millions of dollars to the campaign of Rick Lazio in his bid to beat Hillary Clinton to the United States Senate. The campaign alleged that Hillary was a carpetbagger with no legitimate credentials to run. Then, in 2002, they proudly supported Elizabeth Dole in her campaign for Senate, conveniently omitting the fact that she moved her voter registration from Kansas to North Carolina only weeks before the filing deadline. And now, writers like Adam Jones (“Some Advice For the House”, November 22, 2002, The Hoya, p.3) have the audacity to say, “I’m sorry guys and girls, but there is just something very not normal about Pelosi.”

Nancy Pelosi is a mother and grandmother, raised in the rough and tumble of Baltimore politics and trained in grassroots politics in her home state of Calif. She is a thoughtful public servant, and one that has a strong record of bipartisan cooperation with her colleagues in the House Intelligence Committee. She has served as a defender of our national security, by ensuring that America’s intelligence capability is the best in the world.

Beyond bipartisanship, she has taken principled stands for the values that underpin American society. She has made it very clear that America’s families are under stress. In the post-Sept. 11 world, we are obsessed with national security, often at the expense of domestic security. She stated in April that, “Securing America’s future for our children involves their health, their education, and the economic security of their families, which includes the pension security of their grandparents.”

I had not realized that only liberals from San Francisco valued the health and education and economic security of all Americans. I hail from suburban Washington, and I agree with Nancy Pelosi. To call her a liberal from San Francisco is a codeword. It is a codeword that attempts to marshal the darkest and most un-American inferences. It reminds us that she supports rights for sexual minorities, and that she might even support welfare for America’s economically depressed.

Who would use this codeword, and why would they try and use intolerance and ignorance against someone that represents a value system that millions of Americans share? Perhaps that enlightened leader that the Republican Party has tried to hide-Tom DeLay (R-Texas). Tom DeLay represents the best of the 13th century. His outrageous and disturbing statements are too many to include in one column.

He takes pride in his virulent opposition to women’s reproductive rights. He stated publicly that the spate of school shootings in the late 1990s was a result of America’s lack of Christian values, and that loose and ineffective gun laws were not a factor. He bragged that House Republicans had, “ended the reckless deployment of over-stretched men and women in our military.” I don’t know whether he was referring to the protection of Kosovars from genocide, or the destruction of repressive dictatorship in Haiti as “reckless.”

Tom DeLay is a destructive political force, someone that represents the personal politics that framed the Gingrich-era. He represents politics based not on ideas, but on personality and blind partisanship. As majority leader, he will try and return to an era of bitter division and personal hatred, something I thought we had outgrown.

The Democrats in Congress, along with moderate Republicans, will continue to seek bipartisan solutions to America’s problems. Nancy Pelosi, a leader that has pledged to elevate the tone and work to compromise and find solutions, will give it all she’s got. The question is whether our representatives can find it within themselves to follow the better angels of our nature.

Abraham Lincoln struggled to hope in 1861, Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, John Kennedy in 1961, and Bill Clinton just ten years ago. I, too, have hope that our Congressional leaders can bridge the partisan rancor and rhetoric and work together, not as conservative Texans and liberal San Franciscans, but as Americans. A house divided cannot stand, and a nation divided will surely have trouble overcoming the great challenges that face us.

Marko Liias is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and President of the Georgetown University College Democrats.

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