Tuesday, January 19, 2016



 Poker-Face or Selective Hearing

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) admitted he practiced his “poker face” earlier in the day in preparation for the President’s State of the Union speech. I saw more than a poker face. He took the Speaker’s chair behind President Obama and alongside Vice-President Joe Biden. Of course Joe Biden’s face telegraphed intense interest and often beaming approval.

To the contrary, as an American I believe Speaker Ryan disgrace the integrity of his office, his Party and he and his family. The first I witnessed was one of disbelief as Speaker Ryan’s posture was detached. As the speech continued I could see not the poker face but one of a smirk almost frozen on Ryan’s face. It is the type of face-making his mother would scold “Ryan If you keep that up your face may remain that way.”  

Afterwards, Speaker Ryan admitted to media and press it was difficult to keep a poker face for the duration of the speech so “to be respectful. So I just kind of poker-faced the whole thing, just out of respect for the institution, the office.” At least he didn’t become emotional and shed tears as former Speaker John Boehner.
I have read some bio information about Paul Ryan and most of agreed that he is very intelligent. However, I am find any of his “moments” as shining a bright light. You may recall that Pope Francis warned Congress of the destructive affect of climate change. Ryan countered that the Pope should stick to religion, not science. Ryan "overlooked" that Pope Francis holds a Maters degree in Biology.
During the post-game show I heard several Republicans in agreement with Speaker Ryan that Obama’s speech lacked real “substance.”
What did the Republican Obstructionists expect President Obama to do? I believe they would have paid more interest if the President had deflated the political football and floated passes throughout the chamber.
The Republican and Freedom Caucus either lack a collective intelligence quotient or are in need of hearing aids. What I heard from the President was his description of the law-abiding citizen taking responsibility seriously. He challenged the electorate to take back their government. He acted the political process where wealthy donors buy elections. Obama challenged not only Congress but all of America.
What I’m suggesting is hard. It’s a lot easier to be cynical; to accept that change is not possible, and politics is hopeless. We have to reduce the influence of money in our politics, so that a handful of families or hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections.  
We need to “work together to find a real solution -- because it's a problem. And most of you don't like raising money. I know; I've done it. We’ve got to make it easier to vote, not harder. We need to modernize it for the way we live now.
Those with money and power will gain greater control over the decisions… or roll back the equal rights and voting rights that generations of Americans have fought, even died, to secure.
We need every American to stay active in our public life -- and not just during election time -- so that our public life reflects the goodness and the decency that I see in the American people.
It is not easy. Our brand of democracy is hard. … I will be right there with you as a citizen, inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that helped America travel so far.
I see it in the elderly woman who will wait in line to cast her vote as long as she has to.
As Americans first, bound by a common creed. Voices Dr. King believed would have the final word -- voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love. That's the America I know. That’s the country we love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Undaunted by challenge. Optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
There you have it, Mr. Speaker. While you focused on space before you, holding a smirk or poke-face, you are challenged to seek solutions, seek the truth, stand up to big money and get off your throne and act like a man.