UnNews:Nancy Pelosi elected as first mute Speaker of the House
17 November 2006
|UnNews Audio (file info)|
|Listen to this story!|
WASHINGTON, DC - Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi made history on Thursday as her colleagues elected her as the first mute Speaker of the House, breaking a new barrier in civil rights. Those unable to speak have been one of he most discriminated groups in the United States, but now one of them will be 2nd in line to the Presidency. The founding fathers viewed mutes as so abhorrent that they named the "Speaker of the House" post so that they would be explicitly excluded.
Even Republicans acknowledged this was an historic moment. "While I strongly disagree with most of Madame Pelosi's ideas, like raising the minimum wage for poor peasants, I respect what she has accomplished for mute people," revealed President Bush after a congratulatory phone call to the new Speaker. Dennis Hastert, the man she is replacing, also offered praise, calling Pelosi "The Rosa Parks of mute people." The new Speaker will be sworn in only days after Martin Luther King Day in January, further cementing the legacy of the moment.
Political experts say Pelosi's muteness should not impede her at all in performing the duties of the Speaker of the House. Congressional historian David Ardell explained that the job's duties don't actually involve making many speeches, just taking care of procedural matters and sitting behind the President during the annual State of the Union. Ardell added that the original name of the position was to be "Prime Minister", but during the framing of the constitution George Washington strongly objected, as he wanted the President to wield more power. It is Jefferson who suggested the "Speaker" nomenclature, because he wanted to "really show those despicable mutes that there is no place for them in the government."
But the age of discrimination has finally come to an end, and much like the racial barriers that have been broken in decades past, the muteness barrier has at last been shattered. Pelosi herself, widely expected to win the post, emerged from the voting session quietly, but with a beaming smile. At an afternoon rally, she raised her hands in the air and silently faced the gathered crowd. Saying nothing, she then shook hands with fellow party members and accepted flowers from the audience. At a brief question and answer session with reporters, she said, "", later adding "". Asked if she would call for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, she turned serious and replied, ".......".
Campaign expert Karl Rove, who is often blamed for the Republicans' massive losses during last week's midterms, said Pelosi was a brilliant candidate and none of his electoral tactics worked against her. "Usually we try to find embarrassing clips with something stupid a candidate says," explained Rove, "but we could find nothing objectionable uttered by Nancy. It was really frustrating." He added that "back in the day" Republicans could have defeated her simply by pointing out she was mute, but that in the 21st century "that strategy was unfortunately not deemed politically correct.”
- AP "Pelosi makes history as female speaker". "", November 16, 2006