Now that Nancy Pelosi ‘ s speech setting a new record with 8 hrs 7 mins has become big news I was intrigued about the 77 year old who held the floor , pleading for the ‘ Dreamers ‘ who had been granted a safe haven to live each day working towards their dreams .These ‘ Dreamers ‘ were illegal under-aged immigrants in plain language before the DACA program that gave them this motivational tag -‘ Dreamers’ and even better – a chance to actually dream big .
The columnist had taken the trouble to research upon other marathon speeches in history.
- The longest speech in the House of Representatives till Pelosi set the record ( 5 hrs 15 min ) by a member from Missouri in 1909.
- V . K Menon ‘ s speech at the United Nation Security Council convention on the Kashmir issue when he had to be hospitalized after collapsing at the 5th hour on 23 rd January 1957 . But he was on the floor the following day with a doctor at his side monitoring his blood-pressure while he spoke for another 2 hours 48 minutes . A total of 7 hrs 48 mins .
- Castro’s speech ever delivered at the United Nations: 4 hours and 29 minutes, on Sept. 29, 1960 for which he holds the Guinness Book of Records title for the longest speech ever delivered at the United Nation .
But, reading about these people’s speeches made me realize that Nancy Pelosi ‘s efforts even more admirable and her speech was way out of league with the other marathon speeches . It takes a lot more than oratorical skill alone – it takes extraordinary courage to plead the way she did for the people who constitute a small minority and most importantly the people who occupy the lower levels in the hierarchy pyramid as the illegal immigrants among a section of people who hold the tag as immigrants in United States . Today when fairly well-off immigrants are taking to the streets ‘ to show their solidarity with President Trump ‘ just to get the green card so that they are no long XYZ – Americans but only Americans , these people need some angel – representative in the House because taking to the streets alone wouldn’t work for them as it might do for others . There are still others who are about their daily grind just hoping that everything would be just as it was the day they set foot in the country looking forward to better life and opportunities .
The Statue of Liberty acquired a new meaning of standing ” greeting millions of immigrants and embodying hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life in America. It stirs the desire for freedom in people all over the world. It represents the United States itself . ” due to several immigrants who made America their home and contributed to the idea of America as the Land of Opportunity with their success stories – a few really big ones and others equally inspiring but in the materialistic sense not news-worthy but feature-story – worthy definitely . These feature stories captured their life ‘ s struggles vividly and that makes it difficult to discount these people . They might not be a billionaire or a famous figure today and definitely wealth and fame alone don’t become the sole indicators of success .
I could only marvel at the lady who took the floor using the “ magic minute ” rule ( what a interesting name to come up with for a Rule ) granting unlimited time to the party leader provided that she did not sit down or even take a restroom break . So , she stood during the entire duration of her speech which started definitely at a magic minute considering that she could tell the life stories of close to 300 of the ” Dreamers ” which gave the speech a more humanitarian tone than a political rhetoric one . Despite a good number of apprehensive fellow Democrats who were concerned about the political consequences of this speech (very understandably ) , she minced no words .
Today , several nations ‘ leaders have forgotten the fundamental ideals and principles that were laid down or even worse stage populist politics to put forth new ideas that are in stark contrast with the ideology of the early leaders of the nation . The irony is that these are the leaders who promised ” good days ahead ” for their people but once they are in office their focus has shifted from the people who actually elected them to the office and the items in the real agenda get implemented real quick owing to the numbers . Too late , the people who not only voted for them but became hard – core loyalists who would not want to hear a dissenting voice during the early days have come to realize that their savior ‘s loyalties lie elsewhere and they were appealed to only because of their numbers and their own insecurities . Or maybe plant an idea and see it become a growing fear or a strong conviction was what those leaders did which eventually became sweeping electoral victories
Let ‘s be practical here – I can’t imagine majority of the politicial leaders from any nation doing what she did during the recent times when even ” the Land of Opportunity ” has become choosy about whom it should extend the opportunities to . Today , several nations ‘ leaders have forgotten the fundamental ideals and principles that were laid down by the founding leaders or even worse stage populist politics to put forth new ideas that are in stark contrast with the ideology of the early leaders of the nation . The irony is that these are the leaders who promised ” good days ahead ” for their people but once they are in office their focus has shifted from the people who actually elected them to the office and the items in the real agenda get implemented real quick owing to the numbers . Too late , the people who not only voted for them but became hard – core loyalists who would not want to hear a dissenting voice during the early days have come to realize that their savior ‘s loyalties lie elsewhere and they were appealed to only because of their numbers and their own insecurities . Or maybe plant an idea and see it become a growing fear or a strong conviction was what those leaders did which eventually became sweeping electoral victories . A lie that is often repeated eventually becomes the truth .
Yeah , maybe while writing in the context of Nancy Pelosi ‘ s speech , somehow I couldn’t help drawing parallels between United States and India which prided itself on being an example of ‘ Unity in Diversity ‘ considering the political scenario in both the countries today . The headlines like US Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi beats Krishna Menon’s record with 8-hour speechathon or Facebook posts captioned like Nancy Pelosi set a record by speaking for more than eight hours don’t do justice to this lady ‘ s efforts .
But then its print media and we can understand why headlines are about record – breaks and new records . The journalist who had given historical contexts about marathon speeches could not give a more in – depth account of the speech itself except for moments like when ” when Pellosi struggled at the fifth hour mark, sniffing repeatedly from what she suggested was an allergic reaction to the dust from the House carpeting[….] ” it gave unsurprisingly very little account of the actual underlying issue for which a 77 year old would stand for 8 hours without a break and speak .
I have only two things to say :
Nancy Pellosi is one of a kind when it comes to political leaders today who could look at the bigger picture . She has finally got the spotlight but unsurprisingly for a very dampening reason thanks to all headlines about ” speechathons ” and ” setting new record ”
Can our columnists think about reporting the actual picture instead of giving accounts of ” interesting moments ” in any proceedings within the Houses ? I have seen it time and again with columnists writing about political debates .
Let ‘ s talk about the actual picure for a change guys because this ain’t no reality show to give us tidbits about ” interesting moments ” ….