Pelosi’s ‘pound of flesh’ – The Nation Newspaper

Mohammed Adamu


IF you ask me, I should say that my ‘heroine’ from the just-ended tragic-comic electoral melodrama in the United States of America USA, is that 80-year old ‘chic-ky’, Nancy Patricia Pelosi, the three-time (and need I say first ever woman?) Speaker of that country’s House of Representatives. And of course the villain of that abominably shameful display of democratic incivility we all know is that now Biden-vanquished, ignobly out-gone, one-term-only 45th President, the ‘Grand Panjandrum’ himself, namely our 74-year old Donald John Trump, -or need I say the first ever American president who, about now, rather than go into any of his country’s ‘Halls of Fame’, ironically is stepping rather into her metaphorical ‘Museum of the Ignoble’ as a pioneer honoree!

But on a second thought too, Nancy Pelosi, it appears, has not only played the role of a ‘heroine’ here let’s be realistic, she too has her own share of pleasant melodramatic villainy. The Speaker is as much the excellent ‘heroine’ of her outstanding legislative one-arm-ed swordship role in ending the ruinous phenomenon called Trumpism, as she is also the veritable ‘villain’ of her wolfish demand from the out-gone president, for her legislative ‘pound of flesh’, and more than half of which, by the way, Pelosi has already fatally obtained from the under-ribs closest to Trump’s political heart. All things being equal soon in the upper legislative chamber, the man should profusely bleed (hopefully from a perforated ventricle) to his political demise. Or else this serpentine ‘snake’ of Trumpism has merely been scotched, not killed!

And so in this villainous role therefore, Pelosi can be said to assume the brutally-gloating role of the Shakespearean character Shylock in that bitter-sweet tragicomedy ‘The Merchant Of Venice’, but she, without the tragic flaws of, or maybe even the tragic consequences that thereafter attended the character of Shylock. Pelosi’s irate democratic members are right now in the dramatic scene where they are acting out the vengefully unheeding character of a blood-baying Shylock where the brilliant disguised Lady lawyer, Portia pleads with him not to take his pound of flesh but to “render the deeds of mercy”, warning: “Though justice be thy plea, consider this, that in the course of justice, none of us should see salvation”.

But the script has already been written. And the theatrics must go on. Pelosi already owes the senate a constitutional duty, even with Trump out of office, to transmit her impeachment findings soonest to the Upper Chamber; and the latter in turn owes the American public a similar duty, to try an already profusely hemorrhaging Trump. Meaning that a vengeful Pelosi still has some ‘unfinished Trump business’ to bring a closure to.

Said Charles Colton “Most women will forgive a liberty easier than a slight”. Pelosi, it appears, has forgiven neither the presidential ‘liberties’ that Trump has repeatedly taken of her seeming cool-headedness nor the arrogant executive ‘slight’ he had directed at her equally eminently venerable status as head of a section of a sovereign arm that is co-equal with the executive. In fact Trump’s disdainful rebuff the other day of Pelosi’s parliamentary handshake across the mace, was probably the last straw on the back of his burgeoning wages of executive sin, prompting a bile-full and visibly choleric Pelosi to shred her copy of the president’s speech in a manner clearly suggesting she had now thrown her ‘hat’ in the ring of a future Foreman-Ali ‘rumble in the jungle’ with Trump!

Unfortunately not only was Pelosi’s warring resolve lost on an obviously self-aggrandizing bully-Trump, but even the portentous sarcasm loaded in the Speaker’s politically-correct gesture of scornfully applauding Trump as he walked past by, was totally lost on him; how much less then would Trump have had the oracular sense to discern the insufferable meanness latent in that contorted octogenarian Pelosi-face that seemed subtly to promise: ‘Don’t you worry, I will spit on your grave sooner rather than later”.

Although Shakespeare has said in ‘Macbeth’ that “There is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face”, it was not to be debated that no one needed any ‘art’ in this case, to find the mind’s construction on Speaker-Pelosi’s Trump-hating-face.  And so it was politically naive –not to say tom-foolish-  that a Jonny-Just-Come-To-Politics Trump himself, by his own political actions and inactions, advertently or inadvertently, would personally hand the dagger twice, to this 80-year old, nearly four-decades-at-Congress arch-enemy of his,  to stab wherever and whenever it pleaseth her. No situation better defines the absence of political tact, a “mental virtue” the lack of which William Gilmore Simms said is fatal even “to the best of talents”

Nor was the role of Speaker Pelosi as a politically-progressive ‘heroine’ in the American electoral melodrama any less fascinating than her other role as the villainous one seeking Trump’s political pound of flesh. And in this too if you ask me, I should say that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is my ‘Lady Macbeth’, but again without the tragic flaws of, or the tragic consequences that attended the character of Macbeth’s murderously ambitious wife in that Shakespearean tragic play ‘Macbeth’.

In the play, the Scottish King, Duncan invites his victorious war General, Macbeth, to pass the night in the royal forte in appreciation of the latter’s outstanding bravery. But because earlier some three witches had prophesized that Macbeth would be king, an ambitious Lady Macbeth, his wife now goads her husband to seize the opportunity, kill the king and make to come to pass the witches’ prophesy.  It is in the heat of her husband’s indecision that Lady Macbeth, in a desperate soliloquy, invokes the power of the gods to make her into a ‘man’ so to achieve the murderous purpose that her un-manly husband seems to vacillate over:

“Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts” she says, “un-sex me here (make me a man) and fill me… from the crown to the toe, top-full of the direst cruelty! Make thick my blood”! And in the end Lady Macbeth does succeed in awaking the ‘man’ in her weakling of a husband: “screw your courage to the sticking place” she tells him, and “To beguile the time look like the time…. Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it”.

It is this scene of extraordinary feminine guts in the character of Lady Macbeth, her burning desire to relinquish her feminity, and like the female leader of a typical hyena pack, to grow a false phallus to rein-in the ‘men’, that that actually evokes instant reminiscence of the beguiling power of a Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ironically –without coveting the physiological endowments of her fellow male parliamentarians- is still able, as a proud woman, not only to “screw (her) courage to the sticking place” but also to ‘beguile’ the men of her legislative fiefdom without the deterrence of a dissembling phallus. Twice Pelosi, without the villainous antics of a Lady Macbeth, has successfully managed to corral the male members of her legislative forte into line, charging them to “screw (their) courage to the sticking place” and to punish Trump with two impeachments for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’.

A serial-Speaker Pelosi is proof that when a political dominatrix knows her onions well, the men are eminently controllable and are willing infidels in her masochistic scheme of things. The ‘Christian Science Monitor’ has adjudged Speaker Nancy Pelosi not only as “the most powerful House Speaker” in America since Sam Rayburn some 50 years ago, but also as “the most powerful woman in American politics”.

How a political greenhorn such as Trump dared to traffic with such an entrenched legislative behemoth beats the imagination. Now look how many poisonous spikes the puny porcupine has left in the nosey whiskers of the unheeding leopard cub!

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