Updated: Jan 9
Pelosi 'doesn't do fear' and embodies toxic masculinity's worst nightmares about female power
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: She's not afraid of you! Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr
“Power is not anything that anybody gives away. You have to fight for it.” - U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
I don't know how she did it. I don't know how she faced the nation and addressed the horrific January 6th attack on the Capitol with such a cool mien, but U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, targeted by the right-wing mob a day earlier violently assaulting the halls of power in our democracy, faced the nation and addressed what happened. Then she got right back to work, business as usual, one day later to certify what everyone who wasn't a MAGA knew was a done deal: That Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 federal election.
How specific the information she had on January 7th concerning intent and threats made against her is unclear, but I marveled to watch this 81-year-old woman comport herself like a boss.
Nancy Pelosi elbow bumps a slightly hesitant Mike Pence after the Jan. 7 certification
A day before, the Speaker hid underneath a conference table with her terrorized staff while rioters tried to break into the room. They made it through the first door. They gave up with the second.
She wasn't factually certain of their intention, but no one questioned their lives were in danger and she knew at least some of the mob had murder on their minds as they howled her name.
Months later, in an article in USA Today, Pelosi recounted what happened but acknowledged little personal fear.
"Well, I'm pretty tough. I'm a street fighter," she said. "They would have had a battle on their hands."
She lifted a four-inch stiletto heel for the reporter and added, "I would have had these," to use as weapons.
If you've ever watched the movie Single White Female, you know that's no idle fashion-feminist threat.
She was, she explained, more afraid for her staff than herself since the second-in-line for presidential succession has plenty of security. She said she will 'never forgive' the rioters and their supporters who caused such trauma.
As for herself? Nancy Pelosi doesn't 'do fear', according to her biographer Molly Ball in Pelosi. Pelosi pretty certainly feels fear, but she'll never admit it.
I can't imagine what a punch in the nose it must have been to her haters and would-be murderers to watch her address the press a day later and show no fear. If their intention was to shut that #@$%& up, mission unaccomplished.
No one trapped on Capitol Hill, not even the woman who rivals Margaret Thatcher for sheer will and ramrod-stiff spine, can escape the trauma of January 6th.
However it affects her, Pelosi hasn't let it show publicly.
Never let 'em see you sweat
When women one-quarter her age fold up like frightened kittens when a man on the street pays them a compliment, Nancy Pelosi faced down the most virulent, violent display of MAGA toxic masculinity in anyone's memory. There's no question she wondered what would happen not only to herself but to her much younger staff members had the howling mob broken through.
Pelosi's lifelong iron will and near-fearlessness stem from intimate connection with power since forever, beginning with her father, Democratic Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. The only woman in history to be Speaker of the House, not once but twice, learned about power while working on his campaign and being present at John F. Kennedy's inauguration.
Her mother, also active in politics, taught her daughter the value of social networking as she organized Democratic women. But her mother also indirectly taught her daughter the value of independence and the need to control one's own future, which Pelosi's mother didn't have.
Former President Barack Obama said of Pelosi, “She was as tough, or tougher, than anybody in the world.” She's everything take-no-prisoners hypermasculine he-men value--in other men. It's no wonder GOP pit bulls relentlessly attack her, blaming her for the insurrection plot and deceptively editing the viral video of the Speaker ripping up Trump's last State of the Union speech.
This is the real one. The fake one has been largely taken down, but it went viral.
GOP critics call Pelosi 'nasty', 'bitch', and accuse her of 'tantrums'.
She doesn't exactly have it easy with clueless men in her own party, either. They didn't understand why she ran for house leadership. She told interviewer Dana Bash, "When people said a lot of the women are supporting Nancy to run, they said, ‘Why, do the women have a list of things they want us to do? Why don’t they just make a list and give us the list?’ This is the Democratic Party in the year 2000!”
Just tell us what you want, girls! We'll handle it for you.
It seemed audacious to her colleagues when she stated the next time around she was the most qualified candidate for the House Speakership in 2018.
Only men do that.