Why we should EVEN have Nancy Pelosi’s back…
May 27, 2009 by Amy Siskind
Score a victory for women!
Within 24 hours of The New Agenda issuing a press release and action alert about the RNC’s below the belt “Pussy Galore” video attacking Nancy Pelosi, the RNC had the good sense to pull it down. As one member wrote: “See how little it takes to get people to stop doing what they know is wrong? Too bad we weren’t properly mobilized in January of 2008. ” Too bad indeed! But we’re ready now (remember to donate if you can while we build out our national infrastructure!).
Thanks to all the members who took the time to send emails or call the RNC and Michael Steele. But for all the members that were outraged by the “Pussy Galore” video and took the time to write or call – for all those that stood up for a woman that they did or did not like because the video had crossed the line, there were some who looked at it differently. For others, Nancy Pelosi was on their “list” and therefore she was not worth defending.
And let me tell you this – having the back of Nancy Pelosi was not easy for me either. I have seen Nancy Pelosi attack the first viable women presidential candidate from her own party which to me is inexcusable. I’ve seen her vitriol towards a VP candidate from the Republican Party. I’ve also seen her turn on women in Congress at her own whim. Suffice it say, she ain’t my fav! But the role of The New Agenda is to expose all forms of unfair and discriminatory treatment against women – not just our favs – all women.
And sometimes that ain’t easy: to defend a woman who has hardly been a friend to other women. In fact, since we started The New Agenda, I’ve had to do quite a bit of soul searching myself. One habit that I am proactively moving away from is my old fallback of keeping “lists” of enemies. My natural instinct was that since Pelosi turned on Hillary, I should turn on Pelosi. You know, Pelosi was on my “list”.
And I, like many women, was used to keeping lists. In my career on Wall Street, keeping lists was a survival mechanism. I recall a conversation with a colleague, Tony Cline, who was a 6’6″, 250 lb former NFL tight-end. Tony was having an “issue” with a client, so I told Tony to have the client call me – to which Tony replied: “He’s not going to call you. He’s scared of you. We’re all scared of you.” See on Wall Street keeping a list works.
But in the world of women on women, keeping lists can be an unmitigated disaster. If we hope to make this world better for women and girls, we need to start by finding a better way to treat one another. As I wrote earlier this month in my piece Not too Hot, Not too Cold, women are so darn hard on other women. Give it a rest sisters. None of us are perfect – either individually or as an organization.
Sometimes it seems that if we don’t get it 100% right, it’s time for destruction. Some might call this the “Mean Girls” Syndrome. Here’s some of emails in my inbox about our decision to speak out on the “Pussy Galore” video:
- What’s APPALING is Botoxnan. She was horrid to Hillary and her supporters spreading untruths and sexism She is the biggest disappointment to millions of women, myself included.. She deserves what she is getting.
- I’m sorry but I hate Nancy Pelosi! After how she treated Hillary, she is on my shit list! I don’t care what the RNC or ANYBODY says about this bitch!!!
- IF YOUR ORGANIZATION HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH PULLING THIS VIDEO OF A SHAMEFUL WOMAN WHO CARED NOTHING OF STABBING HILLARY CLINTON IN THE BACK, THEN I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.
So let me get this straight – because Nancy Pelosi does not support women, we should vilify her? We should allow an open season on sexism against her? What good does that do? Cuz the next time the RNC does the video, having got away with it the first time, the video will feature Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin or someone we like. Sexism left unchecked is like a weed that grows and flourishes. Well the good news is that it ain’t growing unchecked anymore. The New Agenda is whacking the weeds and now setting up a national infrastructure to get down at the roots and take those out too!
But if we are truly to succeed, we need to work together. When The New Agenda spoke out for Nancy Pelosi, we are modeling and rewarding the kind of behavior women need in order to move forward. Maybe Pelosi doesn’t get that now – maybe she never will. But we must remember this – that many women in this country have never been the beneficiary of having other women have their back, and so, they don’t know what it looks like. Well we know what it looks like, and TNA will walk the walk and talk the talk. Let’s hope Pelosi learns a lesson and next time thinks twice.
And as The New Agenda stood alone in defending and speaking out for Sarah Palin when it was unpopular to do so, so will we have the back of other women when they are victims of sexist treatment that crosses the line. A conservative women’s site called The Pink Flamingo wrote on their site:
There is a site called The New Agenda, that is “dedicated to improving the lives of women”. I did an archive search and have discovered that TNA did a very good job, and still does of supporting Sarah Palin because of the fact that she is a woman, not because of politics of political party. They are giving Sotomeyer the same treatment.
So for those of you that are disappointed with our decision to speak out about the “Pussy Galore” video, that is okay. Remember the old ad for Motel 6 about leaving the light on. The New Agenda is here, we’re moving forward and spreading our wings to fly. And we realize that some of you might not choose to be with us on every step of our journey. That’s fine too. But we’ll leave the light on and hope that you’ll come back to walk with us on this last mile to equality.
And as Cynthia Ruccia wrote in January that she was Eating Crow for Caroline Kennedy, well looks like I’ll be eating some crow for Nancy Pelosi.