I'm at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. This morning, I attended one of the side events at the Convention: something called Unconventional Women. It was a series of discussions (mostly with two or more women) about women in politics. There wasn't much in the way of policy - it was pretty much, "tell us about your experiences in politics, and how can we get more women in politics." Which was a fine thing to focus on, as far as I am concerned.
The highlight was when Nancy Pelosi arrived. She comes across as a solid professional on TV, but she's very impressive in person. The crowd loved her. I don't think I've ever seen anyone get two standing ovations before they even said a word. And boy can she work a crowd, and yet make it look easy. She has a compelling personal story; she had 5 kids in 6 years. She didn't run for Congress until she was 47. She's very aware of sexism all around her, and she shared some stories about clueless men, but she doesn't let it bother her - she just plows ahead.
One nice thing that she mentioned was that it's crucial for a member of Congress to be an expert on policy. She also said that she makes it clear to new Members that they have three responsibilities: to the Constitution, to the country, and to their constituents, in that order. Hopefully all of those always coincide, but if not, they are responsible for managing the conflict. It was good to be reminded that politics, at the end of the day, is about the work, and the work is passing laws.