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Having a mother in the House to keep it in order

SUSAN K. SMITH | 2/4/2019, 11:32 a.m.
I have smiled, chuckled and laughed out loud watching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handle the president of the United States. ...

Crazy Faith Ministries

I have smiled, chuckled and laughed out loud watching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handle the president of the United States.

She has reminded me of my own mother, and of the mothers I have known and watched. Mothers have a way of making known to children – spoiled or not – how far they can go.

In the case of my own mother, it was a look, accompanied by a particular timbre of her voice, that let me know that I was standing on shaky ground. It was not wise to continue what she obviously considered to be unacceptable behavior when I got “the look” or heard “the voice.”

Pelosi, the mother of six children and a grandmother, knows how to be a mother, as well as how to work the system called politics.

As I think back on the day of her swearing-in as speaker, I am moved again at how she called the children to come forward. I was moved to tears that day because it was such a warm moment in what has been a bitterly cold political season.

I was also moved because she was bringing a different spirit into the House of Representatives. It was going to be different. She would handle her political duties, but she would also handle the children in her midst.

As I have watched her handle the president – and that is the correct word for what she has been doing – I go back to seeing those children surrounding her.

They were invited into the cradle of political power. They laid their eyes on the woman who would keep things in order, and listened to her voice. They watched her use the gavel, the symbol of her power, and they left feeling the kind of assurance we have all felt when our mothers – or mother figures – show us that they have things under control.

Without raising her voice or quaking under the pressure and criticism, Pelosi has told the president what will and will not happen.

She has let him know that she will not be bullied. She does not scare easily, and she has not let him objectify her. She seemingly has let him know how far is “far enough,” and he, like a child, has gotten the message.

She has acted courageously, firmly letting him know that he will not be allowed to present the State of the Union address in the House chambers, and when he pushed back, like an arrogant jock, she pushed back yet again. Her message: It is not going to happen.

The more petulant he gets, the stronger her resolve becomes. It is as though she is saying that as long as he is in her house, he will follow her rules – or, more accurately, the rules of the American government. It is as though she is saying that if he wants to be an autocrat, he will have to get out of “her house.”

As mothers are charged to take care of their children, Pelosi takes seriously her charge to take care of the American people and the American government.