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What a Day for Television

This morning, January 5th, I flipped from Rush Limbaugh to Michael Medved and was shocked to hear both of them mocking Nancy Pelosi’s ascension to Speaker of the House.

Why I was shocked I really don’t know. I suppose being surprised over their mockery of such an event is a little like being surprised to hear Howard Stern mention sex. But I guess I expected everyone to be as excited about the first woman to hold that position as I was.

Yesterday, I watched television all day – stuck on the couch like a bum on a barstool. I watched the vote casting, the vote counting, the announcement of Pelosi’s win, her speech, and the subsequent commentary from television pundits. I cheered when she announced that “all men and women are created equal,” and I got teary eyed when she announced that she had crashed through the “marble ceiling.”

Sadly, my enthusiasm wasn’t shared by many others. Rush rued the "feminization of our culture" and laughed at the idea that a woman might be a better leader than a man. He then went on to discuss a story about European feminists who have asked men to sit when urinating to alleviate the “splash factor” and the consequent sanitation issues. You may ask yourself how these two stories are related. Truly, your guess is as good as mine. I can only suspect that Rush is afraid Nancy might come into his bathroom and force him to sit much like a master might command his dog.

As surprising as this might be, Michael Medved was even more mean spirited than Rush. He mocked Nancy’s Tahitian pearl necklace, her vineyards, her stock in resorts. He stated that she was wealthy and represented wealthy San Francisco – she couldn’t possible be a real Democrat fighting for the common person. “From the kitchen to the Congress,” he mocked, quoting from Nancy’s speech. “The only time she’s ever been in the kitchen,” he argued, “was to supervise the help.” He went on to assert that a female Republican who brought children on stage to touch the gavel would have been condemned for engaging in a shameless photo-op.

What these two men missed in their contemptuous rants against the Gentlewoman from California – but what was mountain river water clear to me – was this simple point: the very fact that two prominent media men spent the morning after the vote denigrating and dismissing it and the woman who was elected – in what amounted to mostly ad hominem attacks – proves that this accomplishment was long in coming and well worth celebrating.

What these two men also missed were Pelosi’s stirring words: “I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship, and I look forward to working with…the Republicans in the Congress for the good of the American people…In this House, we may be different parties, but we serve one country…It’s an historic moment for the Congress. It’s an historic moment for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years…But women weren’t just waiting. Women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America.”

What a day for American television. Too bad today’s radio broadcasts couldn’t be equally as inspiring.

January 2007

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