The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore roots gave Pelosi the grit required to stand up to bullies

Last week, President Trump tweeted a photograph intended to mock House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the photo she is standing at the table in the Cabinet Room wagging her finger at Mr. Trump, who’s surrounded by a table full of other men also sitting, some with heads bowed. Along with the photo he tweeted, “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown.” The president’s penchant for alliteration and redundancy notwithstanding, the photo soon went viral.

Remember that photo from February 2015, of the dress? Remember back in 2015 when we had to manufacture things about which to argue? The one that had the internet arguing over whether the dress was blue and black or white and gold? So too this viral photo gauged and revealed and challenged people’s perceptions. Either Ms. Pelosi was nervous and unhinged and having a meltdown or Ms. Pelosi was the only one in the room with sufficient courage to stand up to the bully.

While I am of the school of thought that what Ms. Pelosi did was courage and dignity incarnate, both sides are claiming victory in their interpretation of the already iconic photo.

In this photo released by the White House, President Donald Trump, center right, meets with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, standing left, Congressional leadership and others, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.

If we are the sum of our experiences, and how can we not be, then I like to think that Speaker Pelosi’s Baltimore experiences fostered the courage required to — perpetually and repeatedly — stand up to the bully.

Ms. Pelosi was born in Baltimore in 1940 to Italian American parents and lived and was educated here until she went to Trinity College in D.C. Her eldest brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, a former Baltimore mayor, was still living in the city when he did Sunday of stroke complications.

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