UPDATED: Activists Give Nancy Pelosi a Literal Backbone

The sacrum and the profane.

Whether she’s the Speaker of the House or simply the Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi has led the Democratic Party in her chamber of Congress since 2002. You could argue that in light of the cataclysm that was last month’s election, it’s time for fresh blood, but Pelosi’s caucus disagreed. (Her 134-63 win over Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio was actually the closest such election in decades.)

Not everyone is willing to give the status quo a pass, however. Sensing that we may be in for an era of squeamishness among Democrats as they reconcile themselves to a country led by Donald Trump, San Francisco activists led by outgoing progressive Supervisor John Avalos, comedian Nato Green, and Jane Martin delivered a physical backbone to Rep. Pelosi’s office today on behalf of groups organizing for environmental and racial justice.

The backbone, in Pelosi's office. (Filming was not permitted inside.) (Nato Green)
The backbone, in Pelosi’s office. (Filming was not permitted inside.) (Nato Green)


Using Facebook live (see here and here for videos), this gesture by a dozen or so of Pelosi’s more engaged constituents was intended to “provide national Democrats with a key resource they currently lack,” according to an accompanying news release. They fear that Democrats might not counter Speaker Paul Ryan’s zeal for slashing entitlements with the necessary force, and that as of January, the GOP might steamroll its agenda through Congress, radically reshaping the country.

With Green calling the present day a “use-it-or-lose-it moment for democracy,” the release continues: “From Trump’s plans for voter suppression, to Russian interference in the election, to corrupt conflicts of interest and attacks on freedom of the press, our entire democracy is in danger, yet millionaire Democrats like Nancy Pelosi are acting like it’s just another day at the office,” said San Francisco District 11 Supervisor Avalos. “The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to stand up to Trump’s reactionary agenda, and the California Legislature has taken bold steps. It’s time for Representative Pelosi to join us in defense of California values.”

Pelosi does not appear to have received the spinal column personally. Notably, the activists were not able to film their emergency action, because security personnel at the building prevented the act of capturing the backbone’s physical delivery.

UPDATE: Jorge Aguilar, a spokesperson from Rep. Pelosi’s office, emailed SF Weekly with the following statement: “”San Franciscans know that Nancy Pelosi has always stood steadfast against hate and discrimination in any form and will lead the fight against any such efforts by the Trump Administration. We appreciate the considerable amount of time a lame duck supervisor has on his hands, but he is very misinformed.”

Meanwhile, the last-minute plan to prevent Donald Trump from taking office via so-called Hamilton Electors does not appear likely to succeed, as only a handful of electors have signed on and the Electoral College meets next Monday, Dec. 19.

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