06 April 2007
Headscarves and Nancy Pelosi
So, there's been some uproar over Nancy Pelosi covering her head on a recent trip to the Middle East. I either have no problem with this or a very big problem with this since it all depends on where she wore the headscarves. I can't find any real confirmation that she wore a headscarf in an inappropriate place.
Of course she should cover her head in a mosque if she is asked to. We have plenty of pictures of male presidents donning certain attire to enter religious sites. And I am glad she was smart enough to bring a few scarves of her own along. I was always a lot more comfortable when I could wear my own scarf that I had chosen (and that I knew was clean). I also at times wore a headscarf on the streets of Cairo because harassment is a problem there and I was far less harassed with a headscarf on. But if I had been traveling in an official entourage as Pelosi was, I doubt I would have worn one on the street. This letter from little green footballs is the closest thing I can find to a confirmation that she wore a scarf on the streets. Bad idea, Ms. Pelosi. You can go too far in cultural understanding.
But what she didn't do was wear a scarf when she met with any heads of state. If she had, all the uproar would have been worth it.
(I do have some other concerns regarding Pelosi's visit to the Middle East. You can make a good case for foreign policy not being entirely the realm of the executive, but if it isn't, this isn't the best way for Congress to go about asserting its role. There are some good reasons why foreign policy is traditionally in the hands of the president. Of course, when the president has made such a mess of it as Bush has, there are good reasons for someone else to step in.)