America, Minnesota have come a long way
Minnesota and America saw a string of firsts Thursday as Congress convened for the 110th time. It was a historical day. One of the firsts was a major historic step for American women as Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California assumed her new role as Hous...
Minnesota and America saw a string of firsts Thursday as Congress convened for the 110th time.
It was a historical day.
One of the firsts was a major historic step for American women as Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California assumed her new role as House speaker. It has been a long road from the 19th century's women's suffrage movement and Susan B. Anthony to the first woman in the House speaker role.
With Pelosi's new leadership role comes responsibility. Pelosi said she accepted the gavel in the "spirit of partnership, not partisanship." Certainly, all politics are partisan to some degree, but Pelosi has an opportunity to engage House Republicans in a proactive manner. The House's initial efforts Thursday in ethics reform are a positive first step.
Thursday also brought a number of Minnesota firsts.
Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar, a DFL'er, took office becoming the state's first elected woman to the Senate. She will play a significant role in the growing future of women in Minnesota politics, especially in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
The Second District's Michele Bachmann also set a first of her own as the Stillwater resident became the first elected Republican woman in Congress from Minnesota.
She will likely have a growing role in Minnesota politics, especially in the Republican Party.
Minnesota had another first as Minneapolis' Keith Ellison became the first Muslim sworn in to Congress. Ellison took his oath of office with his hand upon a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson.
Ellison made a good display of diplomacy as he shook hands and had coffee with Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., who had previously criticized Ellison's choice to use a Quran for his oath of office.
It was a historical week. Women took up significant leadership roles in Congress and Minnesota's delegation, while a Muslim took office representing a district from Minnesota, a state historically settled by northern European immigrants.
America was once a country where Irish need not apply for office, Catholics and Jews could not be elected, blacks were not allowed to hold office, Hispanic politicians faced discrimination and women could not even vote.
This country has come a long way.