Looking for the Holiness in Paul Ryan

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson    

George Fox lived in the 17th Century. An English Dissenter (from the Church of England),  he helped found the Religious Society of Friends, a.k.a. Quakers. One of the principles that guided Fox is that there is something holy in every person.

Tonight, I’m going to look for the holiness in Paul Ryan.

You and I know I’m capable of being snarky at times, but this is not one of those times.  I really mean this.

Ryan (R-WI1) chairs the House budget committee. Tonight he will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Even before the Republicans took back the majority in the House of Representatives, Ryan was acting like a leader in thinking about budget matters.  He, alone among Republicans, has presented a fairly detailed fiscal plan for the coming year. If you’re curious about what he’s proposing, start here.

Ryan says he developed his Roadmap for America’s Future to

  1. Ensure universal access to health insurance, fulfill the missions of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and make these programs permanently solvent.
  2. Return Federal spending growth to sustainable levels and lift the debt burden looming over future generations.
  3. Promote sustained economic and job growth and put the U.S. in a position to lead – not merely survive – in the international marketplace.

Somehow, I don’t think he means to approach these goals the way I would want to see them approached. But I know President Obama intends to pay attention to Ryan’s ideas — if for no other reason than that the Republicans in the House set as one of its operating rules for this session that Ryan alone will determine the budget priorities for the next fiscal year and that’s what the House will get to vote on.  Since money bills originate in the House, that’s a Very Big Deal.

If Obama thinks it’s worth hearing Ryan’s ideas, I’ll do it too. Like him, I’ll be looking for something I can agree with, but I may be looking for something more, though.  I’m hoping for an insight into the spiritual side of Paul Ryan, for evidence of his recognition that even the poorest of the poor are worthy of our care and comfort. That would be a welcome sign, indeed.

Most people will turn away from the SOTU broadcast when Obama is done. I don’t know if Ryan will preempt network shows, but I’m sure he’ll be on C-SPAN, even if the networks don’t carry his response, and I’ll be watching. If you watch him, too, I’d love to see your reactions in the comments area below.  Don’t be shy.  You don’t have to give your real name and nobody but me will see your e-mail address, which is required to post a comment. Let’s start out own dialogue here and see if we can’t help figure our way out of the mess we’re in.

The addresses, Obama’s first, then Ryan’s, begin at 9 p.m. Eastern on most network and many cable TV channels.  It will be hard to miss, if you turn on your TV.

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One Response to “Looking for the Holiness in Paul Ryan”

  1. […] told you I was going to look for the holiness in Ryan, which was my way of keeping my heart and mind […]

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