January 14, 2016

Wondering Anew

I know, it's Thursday, and I usually do my best wondering on Wednesdays.

But I've got to tell you, catching up on the reactions to President Obama's last SOTU has made me full of wonderment.   Here's just one example.

POTUS said last night that we ought not to target each other, or others because of race or religion.  In that section of his speech, he referenced comments from Pope Francis, who was invited by former Speaker Crying John Boehner to speak to Congress a few months back. The Pope spoke, and Boehner, who cried through the whole thing, and cried even more when Pope Francis went on out Boehner's balcony and acknowledged the massive crowd below.  And then, seemingly immediately, Boehner retired.

And we now face a House led by the young family man Paul Ryan. And where I saw nothing wrong with Obama reminding everyone of the Pope's simple message, Ryan thought very differently.

Here's what Obama said:
We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn't a matter of political correctness. It's a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.
His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that, 'to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.'  When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn't make us safer. 
That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.  
And here's what Ryan thought about it, in an interview with USA Today.
I think it sort of degrades the presidency to talk about primary politics in the other party, during primaries. That's not what presidents ought to be talking about in State of the Union addresses. Speaking up for our values and speaking up for our beliefs is one thing. But kind of wading into the primary politics of the other party is just not really what Presidents ought to do.
You know, if  Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus and other 'leaders' of the Republican Party had any cojones, they would have stood up to Donald Trump already - in fact, they would have stood up to him weeks, no months ago, and told him that he's hurting the party and embarrassing America.

They would have told him that they would not support him if he were the party's nominee, and they would have told him that they would not support him if he were elected.  They would have told him to go away, and they would have accepted the consequences of their actions, should there be any.

Instead, Ryan says we can't have a religious test for immigrants, we need to have a security test. Which, by the way, is already in place for folks, causing 15, 18, 24 months or more to pass before we allow most folks in from suspect areas. Unfortunately, trying to define a difference between a religious test and a security test doesn't address what Obama was talking about: the diminishing of America in the eyes of the world, and the betrayal of us as a country.

If the Republicans won't address it themselves, whether from Trump or from any other Republicans in state or federal office, why not the President?

And what's not Presidential about defending our country, I wonder?