I'm so old that, when I grew up, school teachers explained to roomsfull of children that women could never lead the country because they were too unstable, had periods, couldn't handle the pressure. I'm so old that, out on the playground of St. John the Baptist, boys, with fewer brains and smaller balls than I had, teased me on the playground about that, and relied upon the strength of what Sister said to bolster their arguments. What could I say in return? I'm smarter than you and, deep inside, I simply believe that you're wrong? I think that I'm better suited to lead than you are, the words of all the authority figures in our lives notwithstanding? Yeah, right. That works on 12 year olds. No, it doesn't. I just had to dig my nails deep into the side of the cliff and hope, against hope, that time was on my side. That didn't keep me very warm at night.
I graduated Order of the Coif from law school, single-motherhood intact, went to a white-shoe law firm, won billion dollar cases -- and they didn't -- but it wasn't truly until this afternoon that, merci maroon-suited grandma Pelosi, that I felt truly vindicated. I've been half grinning like an idiot and half sobbing like a baby all day long.
Thank you, Ms. Pelosi. It was always going to be someone, but it turned out to be you and, thank you. Thank you for being there, for being the one, for being, when the time came, a grandmother just as I am. It's been such a long slog from the late 1950s to here. Young women have no idea -- no idea -- what's it's cost some of us some from that time. We paid, and paid gladly. We'd pay all over again.
But, damn. Just, damn. They voted in a woman as Speaker of the House, third in line, today, and damn. Just damn. Every protest that I ever went to. Every meeting where I refused to be the one to take notes. Every LttE that I ever wrote. Every time I raised my hand to answer in class (which was a political act, all through the late 80s, believe me). Every man that I ever told, no, thank you, I'm not interested, even if you do have a job/promotion to offer. Every night that I went without sleep wondering if Shirley Chisholm, Robin Morgan, bell hookes, and Pat Schroeder were really going to pull it off. I'll gladly sign off on all of them, declare them little enough to pay, for the joy of today.
Nancy Pelosi! May the Goddess guard you! Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, please guard Nancy; she's your daughter. Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, to her better self, now give birth. Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, make her brutally fair. Water, Earth, Air, and Fire, grant to Nancy her heart's desire. Mother Hera, at the Center, stand by your child and give her mentor.