Just as I started to write about the sophomoric antics of many congresswomen during the State of the Union, legendary radio host Blanquita Cullum’s Facebook page popped up.
She posted, “Were the women in white effective?”
The responses from women poured in:
“They look like followers and not leaders.”
“They appeared trite and immature.”
“They looked like a bunch of fools who can’t think for themselves but must follow the cue of their cult leader!”
“No! I am a Democrat and I was embarrassed.”
“Petulant, churlish behavior is unbecoming to a Congressman or Congresswoman.”
It might seem funny when grown women constantly look at each other to determine when they should clap, stand or sit on their hands, but it’s downright frightening when you remember that these same women are making laws that govern our lives.
When you add House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s matriarchal behavior to their giggling, jumping up and down, and snarling, you end up with stereotypical portrayals of women in power that have harmed us over the years: clueless, hysterical or dictatorial.
Thanks a lot, Mrs. Pelosi, et al.
Mrs. Pelosi also demeaned the congresswomen and the voters who elected them as she alternated between “shushing” her gals and signaling when they had permission to misbehave. It’s not that Mrs. Pelosi had a problem with their sophomoric style, she just wanted to control when they shrieked and when they sneered.
So much for women as independent thinkers with a right to express their own opinions.
A word to the women in white: We’ve come too far for you to ruin it for all women now. In order to do right by our gender, you might take a few notes from the most accomplished female leaders the world has ever known.
The late great lady Margaret Thatcher comes to mind. She was steely when she needed to be, but always civil; kind, without compromising her principles; and she always knew what she was talking about. Instead of being demeaning or vulgar in her use of humor, she knew how to make her point, often causing even her opponents to chuckle.
Phyllis Schlafly also demonstrated how to gracefully and forcefully take on battles and win. She continues to inspire a new generation of women to study harder, work smarter and never, ever sacrifice their dignity or femininity in the process.
Thatcher and Schlafly elevated the image of women in power, instead of smashing it on the altar of ego, as do Mrs. Pelosi and her female subjects.
If women are to be taken seriously in the future, if we hope to win more elections, if we want our daughters to have ever more opportunities, it’s critical that current female leaders stop acting like the “mean girls” in junior high that are so abhorrent. You know, the ones who gather in cliques and try to intimidate or embarrass the kids they deem inferior. The ones who bully or boss others around, and stamp their feet when they don’t get their way. The ones who walk around with the attitude, “It’s all about ME!”
For the liberal clones in white, it really is all about them. And that’s the saddest thing of all. They miss the fact that first and foremost, leadership is a call to service. It’s about making the lives of others better. What the women in white need most is a change of heart.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the incredibly successful president of the Susan B. Anthony List, selflessly fights every day, not for her rights, but for those who have no voice. She recently summed up the secret to effective leadership in remarks to male and female leaders, “In our servanthood we are made strong.”
Washington is filled with leaders like Mrs. Dannenfelser who show our daughters how to use their individual gifts and personalities for good. Women like Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James and Vice President Becky Norton Dunlop, Concerned Women for America’s President Penny Nance, Sens. Joni Ernst and Marsha Blackburn, and Reps. Liz Cheney and Vicky Hartzler. There are so many amazing, inspiring women that it’s impossible to list them all. And you’ll never find them acting like remote-controlled robots going haywire.
To the women in white: Please stop hurting the future of our girls. You have a duty to set an example to inspire them to be better, not bitter; smarter, not snarky; and determined, not dictatorial. It all begins with a change of heart.
• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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