Whom Do You Trust?

When Paul Ryan became Speaker of the House he was asked about immigration policy. His reply was that this issue will not be on the House agenda until after the presidential election because President Obama can not be trusted. The President as the President and a lawyer with an extensive background in the constitution believed he had the right to act as he did on immigration. This was not only out of compassion but he saw what he believes is a legal way to help reduce the impact of a very serious issue. Since he can not seek re-election I assume politics was only a secondary consideration. Can we say the same about Speaker Ryan’s position knowing the Republican party’s immigration position?

The issue here is not who is right but rather what is right because words matter. As Speaker of the House Mr. Ryan’s words matter and resonate beyond the house chamber. I could accept him saying I disagree with the President, consider his action to be going in the wrong direction and also consider it to be beyond his executive authority. Why would he feel a need to tell the country and the world that President Obama can not be trusted? This is a shameful pronouncement for any member of Congress to make.

We have a member of Congress yelling out at the President “you’re a liar.” Shameful and despicable is the only way to describe such juvenile outbursts. Language has an impact. If these types of statements are acceptable by these elected individuals, then what else is?

The statements by some of our presidential candidates is just as wrong and it is not the words of just one of them. Disrespect for the Office of President and also the offices these people hold or aspire to is just as inappropriate. Civility seems to have been lost by those whose position demands it. Do these people think that talking like the local tough guy enhances their stature or makes them more effective? The bully in school was not the person we respected but rather the one to be avoided and ignored.

When George W. Bush was President, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela appeared before the United Nations and referred to President Bush as satan. Irrespective of what my opinion was of President Bush’s polices, no one can call my President satan, certainly not the likes of Chavez. From this incident before the United Nations until the death of Chavez I did not purchase Citgo gas. This may not have been much but at least it was a symbol for what is acceptable. Chavez’s speech was just as despicable and unacceptable as some of our local so-called leaders or aspiring leaders.

Have we as a nation lost our sense of what is acceptable and civil in our speech and behavior? A television program that aired previously ended with the host proclaiming “you’re fired.” As an employer I believe that one of the worst and most difficult actions for an employer is to have to dismiss an employee. Although the action may be warranted it results in a person being deprived of his or her livelihood. This should not be proclaimed as if it somehow is a good thing to be shouted from the rooftops. The issue here is not who is doing the yelling but rather who finds it acceptable and is willing to watch this action each week.

Civility isn’t some “liberal” gesture which makes one appear to be weak. Firing someone isn’t some “conservative” gesture that makes someone appear to be strong. It is the way we have all been taught to behave, how we treat each other and how we all, in the word’s of Rodney King, can just get along.

Phil

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