Why Nancy Pelosi reminds me of a little girl I used to babysit

When I was in middle school, I did a lot of babysitting, and the Democratic party reminds me very much of one particular girl I used to babysit. Whenever anyone tried to tell her something she didn’t want to hear, like that it was bedtime, she’d stick her fingers in her ears sing/scream “Camptown Races” over and over again at the top of her lungs.

I was thinking of that little girl when I watched the clip of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after she was re-elected to her leadership post following a challenge from Ohio congressman, Tim Ryan.

When she got to her second use of the word “special” in the first seconds of her press conference (referring to the the “special spring in her step” due to this “special” opportunity), my thoughts momentarily switched to Saturday Night Live’s old church lady skits —

— but then my thoughts went back to the little girl who wanted to ignore basic facts and how much Pelosi likes to paint a rosy, unrealistic picture, even when she’s staring down a dark foreboding sky. Her election night predictions are a classic example.

Much has been made, post-election, of the demise of the Democratic Party. The raw numbers regarding Democrats in elected offices on the state and federal level have been in a downward death spiral since Obama took office, and 2016 didn’t do much to alter that trajectory.  

Yet Democrats refuse to reconsider their leadership strategies. When the 2016 electoral college map clearly shows a differentiation between coastal elites and the rest of America, Congressional Democrats choose California’s Pelosi and New York’s Senator Shumer to lead them. Hello?!

I haven’t read about any drastic leadership adjustments on the state level, either.

On the Republican side, we have traditional Republican leaders doing Twister-style contortions to accommodate their new leader, President-elect Trump. These contortions are attempts to change at least, albeit awkward change to witness. With the rotation of Republican and Wall Street insiders parading in an out of Trump’s office, though, much of that change seems to be about keeping the same old faces and ideas around.

It took some people by surprise eight years ago when Americans were so desperate for change, voters rose above centuries of racial strife to elect the first black president. Even more people were surprised when Americans, even more desperate for change this year, where willing to elect a man most voters disapproved of. Trump voters I know didn’t necessarily have confidence in his ability to be president, but they had the utmost confidence Trump would force change.

And they didn’t care if that change came as a result of Trump messing things up. They saw a Trump presidency as a catalyst rather than an outcome.

The problem with that line of thinking is, if Trump fails to deliver on his message of “draining the swamp” and if Democrats keep running around with fingers in their ears singing “Camptown Races,” who knows who voters might be able to latch onto as a catalyst in 2020.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.