Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — the first female Speaker in American History, and the first Italian-American female to be the most politically powerful woman in the country — continues to give fits to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and all other aging, shallow, soulless, white men. Regardless of the issue — from Obamacare (which was pushed through by Pelosi and should bear her name), to Impeachment, to pointing her finger at the ManChild in the Cabinet Room and scolding him for having gangster friends, like the punk Putin — these pathetic old patriarchs cannot fathom the inherent power of this woman warrior.
It’s pretty simple, actually. She is a grounded Italian woman who has zero tolerance for lies, meanness and bluster. My mother was just such a woman warrior. Brilliant, but without any formal education, my mother had an innate skill to get to the heart of the matter. If you crossed her, you did so at your own peril. Paralyzed in her right arm by Polio, my mother enforced her word wielding a wooden spoon in her “good” left hand, when she wasn’t using it to cook.
My middle brother, Vincent — the most misogynistic, racist and troublesome of her four children — was frequently the target of my mother’s wrath. She used the wooden spoon on him regularly to drive home her displeasure with his anti-social actions. Each blow she landed on him with the wooden spoon would come with the uttering of a powerful word of opprobrium: “If (spoon smash)…you…(spoon smash) ever…(spoon smash) do…(spoon smash) that…(spoon smash) again…(spoon smash)…” Well, you get the picture. If my brother talked back, (like Trump’s OCD tweeting) he simply prolonged his syllabic pummeling.
Under today’s laws, my mother — a small, plump Italian woman, usually wearing a housedress — would be subject to charges of child abuse or endangerment. In the “old days” — which Trump is fond of recalling — it was merely considered spanking, something which the Rich Blonde Brat never experienced. When we were kids, we simply knew not to cross my mother — especially her powerful left arm. She used the wooden spoon so frequently on my brother Vinny that she broke more than one by beating him on the back. Nevertheless, she persisted, and went out and bought an indestructible Iron Spoon, and the first weapon of mass destruction was born.
Neither mumbling Mitch McConnell, nor the completely corrupt Captain Queeg from Queens, were ever exposed to the full wrath of an Italian woman like my mother, nor Nancy Pelosi. McConnell, a polio survivor himself, who contracted the disease as a 2-year old, was cured thanks to the generosity of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (later the March of Dimes) and the life-saving treatment he received at FDR’s Warm Springs facility in Georgia. McConnell’s fight with Polio, like her own, might have endeared him to my mother — who worshipped FDR and saved her dimes for decades toward the discovery of a Polio vaccine — if the Kentucky ingrate hadn’t dissed the March of Dimes — an unpardonable sin — when he had the power, and the means, to pay back their kindness. As for Trump, he was dead to my mother when she found out his father joined an Anti-Italian immigrant KKK rally, and that Trump’s WASPY coifed-mother used to chauffer her spoiled Little Lord Fauntleroy to private school in her rose-colored Rolls Royce. Seriously.
I have thought of my mother and her wooden spoon-justice frequently over the past month when Nancy Pelosi, herself a no-nonsense Italian grandmother, let a few people have it. First, she slammed a slithery, white male reporter who asked her if she “hated” Trump, stating that she didn’t “hate” anyone, since she was raised a Catholic, and her religion taught her not to hate. My mother’s less artful answer would have been, “ Look, you little bastard, I don’t hate the miserable son-of-a-bitch, but his mother should have used the wooden spoon on him.”
Secondly, when repeatedly pressed about when she would transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, Pelosi pointedly responded, “When I’m ready.” Her flinty, feisty, don’t-mess-with-me response sounded so much like what my mother would have said: “ When I’m good and god-damned ready.”
Speaker Pelosi’s retort, while less earthy than my mother’s, had the same pulverizing effect on puffy, pasty, panting Donald, and on Phineas T. Bluster-the-Ingrate McConnell, who it was clear, had no experience with tough, Italian women wielding wooden spoons or words as swords, to teach decency.