Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power Book Review

To be a woman in politics is to have a backbone made of steel. It requires courage, strength, an incredibly brilliant mind, and the ability to navigate through the bullshit.

Nancy Pelosi has done this and so much more. She has broken barriers, become a controversial figure, and stood toe to toe with some of the most notorious political figures of our era. Her biography, Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power, by Susan Page, was published earlier this year. Pelosi was born in Baltimore, the youngest child, and only daughter in a prominent Italian-American family. Though she was raised in an era in which girls were boxed in, her mother encouraged her to color outside of the lines.

Moving to California after marrying, Pelosi only got into politics after her children were grown. Starting at the local level, she climbed up the ladder with a shrewd mind and an understanding of the game. Page spends most of the book examining her career and the challenges (especially when going against you know who) that she has come against. Diving into the details of the last few decades, the woman we meet is one who does not shrink when coming against a man who thinks that he knows better than her.

I enjoyed this book. The reader is introduced to Pelosi as the whole woman, not just the image on the evening news. She is thoroughly human in a way that I found relatable and inspirational. Pelosi may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you cannot deny that what she has accomplished is exceptional and admirable. We need more women in this world like Nancy Pelosi.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power is available wherever books are sold.

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Flashback Friday: Mob Wives (2011-2016)

There has been a fascination with the mafia since the beginning of the modern entertainment industry. The danger, the violence, and the potential for financial and material profit have a certain appeal. But there is also the chance that the ones you love most will not be immune from your decisions.

Mob Wives was on the air via VH1 from 2011-2016. This Real Housewives-esque series followed the lives of women whose relations were in jail due to mafia-related activities. Shot in the New York City borough of Staten Island, this reality show delves into the day-to-day lives of the wives and daughters of prominent members of the American Mafia. While they are trying to support the men they love, they are doing their best to provide for their children and live as normally as possible.

When the series initially premiered ten years ago, the argument that it was based on Italian-American stereotypes was not one that went unnoticed. Like all reality television, it can be mildly entertaining. But, the catch is that the reader knows that it can be as fully scripted as programs that are completely fictional.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Thoughts On Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day

We are told that education creates pathways to the future. That being said, how we are educated is dependent on who controls our what is or is not taught.

Yesterday was Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day.

Depending on where one lives within the United States determines if one and/or both holidays are listed on the calendar.

The purpose of both Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day is to honor and educate about the histories of both Italian Americans and Native Americans. But while Columbus Day has been part of our culture for generations, it’s Native American counterpart is relatively new.

The issue is that while we celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus, we are discarding the true history of the period. The New World, as it was known then by Europeans, was not empty. Nor was it waiting to be discovered. There were hundreds, if not thousands of Native American nations who lived and thrived on American soil long before Columbus “found” this land.

The “founding” of America by Columbus was the catalyst for colonization and the destruction of the Native American way of life.

The question is, how do we reconcile the truth of the past? The easy answer is nationalize Indigenous People’s Day as a holiday. But like many things that appear to be easy, the reality is that it difficult and complicated, especially in our current political climate. The truth is that I don’t have an answer.

But I do know that is time to give our Native American brothers and sisters the respect and the history they deserve.

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