Nov 152006
 
Authors: Luci StorelliCastro

It may seem the outcome of the mid-term elections was so disproportionately favorable, so as to give one party more incentive to rejoice over the other.

I would like to call attention to one reason why Democrats and Republicans alike can be pleased with the results of Nov. 7.

That reason is madam House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Of course, Republicans familiar with Pelosi and her ideological roots must be shaking their heads vehemently at this suggestion.

Pelosi, after all, is a San Francisco liberal who has publicly embraced her liberal inclination, refuting any allegation of being even slightly moderate. In her own words: “I pride myself in being called a liberal.”

She’s basically the female version of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

However, Pelosi represents something that transcends partisan politics – she is evidence of a new trend slowly catching on in this country, namely, the rise of women to ever-higher positions of power and influence in government.

Across the political spectrum we can agree on this: It’s about time.

It has always remained a mystery to me how our country has gone so long without ever experiencing a woman at the helm of power. Even in Latin America, where there is a strong influence of machismo prevalent in society, women have made their mark rising to the highest rank of power. Take Argentina’s Eva Peron, who captivated an entire nation during the 1940s and early 1950s. To this day, many Argentineans, mostly the older generation, adore “Evita.” A more contemporary example is the current Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, who rose to power in 2006. Bachelet is Chile’s first female president, having won 53.5 percent of votes cast.

If we look at other parts of the world, we will find Latin America is not alone in having experienced women at the top of the political food chain. Examples include, but are not limited to: India’s Indira Gandhi, Ireland’s Mary Robinson, Israel’s Golda Meir, Norway’s Gro Harlem Brundtland and Rwanda’s Agathe Uwilingiyimana.

Although it has been shown that women, like men, are not immune from engaging in poor governance and committing ruthlessness crimes against humanity (i.e. Bloody Mary and Margaret Thatcher), our country would benefit from a little spice added to the traditional mix of white, extremely rich, Protestant males in charge.

Pelosi’s climb to the position of House Speaker, in conjunction with the impact of women like Sen. Hilary Clinton and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signals a change in the winds.

Another aspect of Pelosi our society will greatly benefit from is that she does not fit the socially-constructed mold of what it means to be a woman. She is not your typical Laura Bush-like woman: Sweet, subservient, na’ve and lacking a backbone.

Pelosi is quite the opposite, as is documented in a Time magazine article describing how she successfully unified the Democrats against President Bush’s Social Security plan: “As the spring of 2005 wore on, some pestered (Pelosi) every week, asking when they were going to release a rival plan. ‘Never. Is never good enough for you?'”

As a 66-year-old grandmother of five children, Pelosi still has that warm, tenderness we equate with our own grandmothers – talking constantly about her family, stashing Ghirardelli chocolates in her office, wearing a smile on her face and getting up at midnight to watch MTV when she can’t fall asleep.

However, just like she can be a delightful grandmotherly figure, she can also be a shrewd, assertive and uncompromising politician. Some have even gone so far as labeling her Teresa Heinz Kerry without the accent.

There’s only one thing left to say: You go girl.

Luci Storelli-Castro is a junior political science and philosophy major. Her column runs every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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