Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker of the House in 2007 — a huge political accomplishment for the women’s rights movement. I just finished reading her book — Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters, and am reminded how far women have come — from no voting rights, to policy makers. That’s not to say that I agree with her on every point (not the least of which, her choice of title for the book). But I have a healthy respect for the challenges in her way, and for anyone who has the courage to try anyway.
(I am also impressed by her view of family. She raised five children to near adulthood before embarking on a political career. Seeing her children as a sidebar to her life never occurred to her — caring for them until they could care for themselves was her priority. And she spent that time at home wisely — volunteering for political events, keeping up with the news, staying active mentally. Her political training took place during a time of changing diapers and helping with homework. How refreshing!)
So let’s talk about this misleading title. I almost didn’t pick up the book, because Know Your Power smacks of entitlement and empowerment, two feminist ideas that bother me. You may have guessed that I would prefer “Know God’s Power” because human power has an end, and God’s power does not.
But it’s really a book about courage — the courage to keep trying, keep striving. The courage to engage your children and raise them well, and the courage to engage our country. “Courage springs from the heart,” Pelosi writes. “The voters know that what is in your heart is what you will have the courage to fight for.”
I may not agree with her political views, but I can’t argue with that.