Forgive the word but I felt a surge of pride as I watched Nancy Pelosi speak before Congress today. It's not just that she was eloquent and gracious amid that chamber full of glum Republican faces. You could tell they were in shock that the liberal nut from San Francisco had actually been elected Speaker! You could almost hear them grumbling, How could this have happened? And where did all those children milling around her skirts come from? That's what happens when you have real family values. You celebrate children as opposed to pontificating about their importance and then stealing their lunch money.
But what really moved me about Pelosi becoming the first female Speaker in history--besides being a Californian--is that I lived long enough to see it. Believe me I wasn't at all sure I would given the ugly anti-feminist politics of the last dozen years. It's such a pivotal moment for women in this country, it's hard to fathom. I went to college at a time when women were just beginning to tap the glass ceiling, never mind break a marble one, as the new Speaker cleverly put it. Not a single woman I knew was going to law school or medical school much less considering a run for Congress. The women's movement changed all that.
This is something young women today don't always appreciate because they didn't have to fight, to get their fingernails dirty. The other day one of my nieces who's a budding investment banker told me somewhat sheepishly she wasn't a feminist. She had just left her job because her boss had groped her at a party. She didn't want to look "weak"--like a feminist, was the bizarre implication--so she didn't report him or tell anyone. Even though he was a notorious lech.
I wanted to clonk her on her pretty little head.
I hope some day she sees the connection between where she is now and the women who helped get her there. I know my 14-year-old daughter will. We listened to Pelosi's speech tonight together.
Follow Mona Gable on Twitter: www.twitter.com/monalgable