The Corner

Boehner, Pelosi, and Humility


Speaker John Boehner will do himself and the whole pro-life movement proud, and save many vulnerable human beings, if he continues as he began today: determined and humble.

During the passing of the gavel, the contrast in humility between former speaker Nancy Pelosi and Boehner was stark. Pelosi wanted more time, and was reluctant to pass the gavel. She put off doing so by outlining in great detail her own groundbreaking leadership and legislative accomplishments. Boehner pointed to how little time we actually have: “Life is fragile. Time on earth is fleeting,” he said. “All is on loan, including this gavel.”

It is a hard thing to relinquish power. But when one is humble, it is hard to take over the reins of power. Boehner’s heart was at Ash Wednesday Mass at the moment he gained authority and stood third in line to the president: “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return,” he quoted to the nation, but he was really reminding himself.

And yes, he teared up. I, for one, will start crying if he ever stops. It is a sign of humility and sensitivity to what is moving because it is true. Humility opens folks’ eyes to the plight of the vulnerable — to the children intended for this world who are in danger. I have seen him moved to tears by this reality too.

If he continues as he began today — with determination and humility — he will drive legislation on defunding Planned Parenthood and banning the government funding of abortion to votes quickly. He will use his brief time to act upon the truth he spoke today.

— Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

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