Nancy Pelosi’s address may have been eight hours long, but does time really measure influence?

Megan Lafond, Contributing Writer

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addressed the chamber with an eight-hour speech on Feb. 7 promoting protecting immigrants that could be forced out of the United States. According to the New York Times, she read personal letters from younger immigrants, passages from the Bible and even quotes from Pope Francis to help her deliver the chamber’s longest continuous speech, according to the House historian, by almost three hours. However, this speech was far from undisputed.

As a controversial figure in the House, Pelosi prompted not only Republican representatives to question her ideals, but also younger Democrats. Many Democrats believe in keeping the American dream alive for many immigrants at risk of deportation, but at the same time are unsure of how successful Pelosi’s plan of action would be.

It is important to note that Pelosi spoke for eight hours, but gave no real solution to the budget issue at hand. This issue revolves around the new budget accord and its dissolution of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, implemented while former President Barack Obama was in office. Pelosi wants a vote to be held on “helping the Dreamers,” or else she will oppose the budget deal.

A threat of opposing action on the part of Democrats is an empty threat if a real solution cannot be given to the problem facing hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Her solution is solely for a vote to be held, and seeing that most Republicans had left by the end of her eight-hour speech, it may not have made the impact she was hoping for. Additionally, according to the New York Times, only 50 of the 187 Democrats in the House “responded with a standing ovation, high-fives, hugs and kisses.”

Additionally, some of the information she was relaying to the House was inaccurate, a trend that has been a popular occurrence throughout Washington lately. She spoke of incorrect poll numbers of American support for immigrant Dreamers by nearly 10 percent in some areas, which was a manipulation of the real numbers of Republican support on the issue. She also adjusted wording from those supporting Dreamers in a Quinnipiac University poll, claiming that they had said “Dreamers should be allowed either citizenship or permanent status,” while the real statement was expressed that they, “should be allowed to stay, but not apply for citizenship.”

It can be hard for someone like me, and many of the readers who follow the constantly fast-paced world of politics, to trust those in political power that have the ability to speak for the public but speak inaccurately about facts and numbers. I would say that I do not view myself as a highly political person, but rather, a person who respects trust, honesty and the equal treatment of all while also respecting the public majority on an issue. With that in mind, Nancy Pelosi needed to do a lot more than speak inaccurately about an issue. She provided little to no solution other than a threat to the House to persuade the public. I wish she had fought harder for the topic at hand, and, in the eight hours she spoke, used her own voice more than quotations, passages and letters towards resolution.

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