If there's one thing Paul Ryan has honed during his years in Washington, it's Washington-speak.
The Speaker's March 23 address, broadcast from the Ways and Means Committee chamber – where he was surrounded only by press and House interns – is an example of just how adept he's become at it.
Whose Unity Are We Talking About, Anyway?
With soaring rhetoric, Ryan appealed for unity – unity in Congress, unity among the public, unity as a nation. We should test theories and ideas, he asserted, rather than impugning motives. The cost of political division is high, he noted; it undermines people's faith in their representatives, their faith in government. The system works, he explained, only if we have mutual respect for one another.
The problem is that Washington's elite class, of which Paul Ryan has become a top-ranking member, hasn't had any respect for the rest of us for a very long time. Consequently, yes, we have lost faith in our representatives and in our government. It's not just a bunch of us out here, frustrated over nothing. Most of the reasons for our dissatisfaction, disillusionment, and anger either reside in our nation's capital or are the brain-children of those who do.
Quite frankly, the whole of Ryan's speech comes down to this: a Washington blue-blood reminds us uncooperative plebeians that we should smile and hold hands and trust our leaders so that they can continue to inspire us with their spectacular and never-ending betrayals – betrayals such as Paul Ryan's ongoing embrace of massive spending, lopsided trade agreements, and troubling immigration policies. In fact, in light of this week's fresh attacks by radical Islamists in Brussels, Belgium, Ryan's already unpopular stance on immigration is likely growing more so by the minute.
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