For much of the past decade, I have defended Nancy Pelosi, our current speaker of the house. She’s clearly replaced Hillary Clinton as the Republicans’ woman to demonize, and they’ve done a pretty good job of slamming her for everything from her face to her voice to her motives to her background. I always felt, were Pelosi a man, it would never have been this way. Ever.
That said, I am done defending. Thanks to CNN’s excellent Jack Cafferty, I learned today about Pelosi’s pre-Christmas trip to Copenhagen for the Climate Summit. Did Pelosi need to go? Probably not, what with President Obama representing the United States. But, in and of itself, I have no problem with her decision to attend.
However, Nancy Pelosi didn’t merely fly coach, stay in a Holiday Inn and return home. No, she traveled along with her delegation of FIFTY-NINE people, including members of Congress, staffers and spouses and children. As Cafferty wrote, “For the 21 Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,400; and the total hotel billâ€”including meeting roomsâ€”was more than $400,000.” Oh, Pelosi also used two military jets for herself and her party at a cost of more than $100,000 in flight time.
I am no longer shocked by the actions of our political leaders; by their arrogance and their sense of entitlement. But I remain incredibly pissed off by it. Nancy Pelosi is a Democrat. I am a Democrat. We are supposed to be concerned about the poor; the needy; the struggling … the … the … the … she spent more than $100,000 in flight time!? And used military jets!? Seriously, what the hell is going on here? What are these people thinking? We’re at 10 percent reported unemployment. In certain cities, that total reached 25 percent. And Nancy Pelosi does … this? I am beyond sickened.
And here’s thing thingâ€”this is not a Democratic issue. It’s not a Republican issue. It’s not red vs. blue, elephant vs. donkey. It’s Us against Themâ€”The People who make up 99.9999999999999 percent of the country vs. the .000000000000001 percent who “serve” in the government as elected officials. We (myself certainly included) spend so much time bashing other ideologies that we forget the true enemy is often leadership itself. Not exclusively Republican leadership or Democratic leadershipâ€”but the powers that be, party affiliation be damned.
I have long detested the so-called Tea Party people and the ring-wing nut-jobs who picket outside abortion clinics with their dead fetus signs. I loathe those who say Obama isn’t a citizen, and I will never agree with people who think social programs should be funded exclusively via private funds. But, for the first time, I am starting to understand their universal frustrations.
We are all citizens, all underrepresented by the people we elected to represent us. We are largely voiceless, largely powerless. We don’t agree on much, but we can agree on that.
And it sucks.