Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

Service of What Changed? Is This a Breakthrough Against Nasty-Talk?

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Photo: Skysports.com

Until now there have been few [if any] things about which a chunk of lawmakers from across the aisle could agree; the same with Trump supporters and detractors. It took a Trump aide’s nasty comment about Senator John McCain–“he’s dying anyway”–for a significant number of Republicans to speak up. Someone in the administration crossed a line and Democrats and Republicans alike immediately cried “foul!” and didn’t stop for days.

That is, except the president and some others…more about them later.

Kelly Sadler said those mean-spirited words about a hero during a White House communications meeting discussing Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA director. McCain didn’t support the president’s pick because, during senate hearings, Haspel refused to say torture is immoral. McCain knows about torture.

Senator Graham. Photo: thehill.com

Thehill.com quoted Lindsey Graham’s reaction to Sadler. His word: “disgusting.” And Graham wasn’t the first or the last to urge the White House to apologize.

Here’s just a fragment of the praise Paul Ryan shared about Senator McCain: “There are so many accolades I could heap on John McCain.” Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas called Sadler’s “denigrating” comments “reprehensible” and tweeted that he “deserves our respect.” Another Republican Senator, Joni Ernst from Iowa, said that “Our nation….should treat this war hero and his family with the civility and respect they deserve.” Democrat Gerry Connolly, R.I., said “Our politics may be different but John McCain is an American hero.”

Joni Ernst. Photo: kcrg.com

According to The Republic/azcentral.com, Senator Jeff Flake posted “There are no words” on Twitter to which John Kerry replied, “Actually, Jeff, you’re too kind. There are words-four letter ones.” Mitt Romney, according to azcentral.com, said that John McCain “makes America great” and “those who mock him only humiliate themselves ‘and their silent accomplices.’”  Ohio governor John Kasich also called for a White House apology.

Joe Biden said: “People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday.” Regarding disrespect, he continued: “this staffer is not the exception to the rule; she is the epitome of it.”

Len Berman, left, & Michael Riedel

As many as five days after Sadler spoke, New York City radio talk show hosts continued to criticize the spiteful words. This Tuesday morning drive time talk show co-hosts Len Berman and Michael Riedel, WOR 710 AM, mentioned the incident for the second day and urged the White House to make a public apology. Riedel is a Trump supporter.

There’s always an outlier. A retired general on Fox Business network said that “torture had worked on the Arizona senator…. ‘That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.’” Does he remember that the Senator stayed with his fellow captives when he had a chance to leave prison first?

In addition to the White House, others have shared inexplicable silence. According to azcentral.com: “Top political figures from Arizona largely remained silent, including: Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey; former Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who remains a political player in Arizona and beyond; Arizona Republican Party chairman Jonathan Lines; and Republican U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Debbie Lesko, Martha McSally and David Schweikert. Likewise, Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego, Raúl Grijalva and Kyrsten Sinema have issued no public statements.”

To take away a bit of the credit I gave the Republicans who spoke up, when Republican senators met with the president on Tuesday, not one brought up this subject or asked him to apologize.

What is it about Kelly Sadler’s words that struck a chord when previously so many other abhorrent comments and taunts have gone unnoticed by all except members of the opposing political party? How come the sting of these three words lasted so long? Could this be a turning point where some politicians regain a conscience? Why is it so hard for some to apologize or admit to making a mistake or hurting another person’s feelings?

Photo: beyondphilosophy.com

Service of Family: No Marriage, No Children=No Family & Unfit to Serve?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Photo: motivationpt.com

I was at an auto dealership in upstate New York last weekend speaking with an insurance company customer service rep. Our salesman was arranging for the transfer of our insurance to a new car and when done, he passed me the phone.

After “Hello”—I’d expected a quick “confirming that you’re Jeanne Byington leasing a car,”–but instead the rep bombarded me with questions starting with “What’s your PIN number?” I panicked, looked at my husband and we spat out a few options. The rep interrupted me and then asked, “What is the name of your child?” I answered: “I don’t have one.” He said, “You have to call back. I’ve been logged out.” Click.

Photo: datagenetics.com

So we called back, this time logging in with a PIN number, which worked thank goodness, and we reached a pleasant woman who took the information she needed from the salesman and she then asked me: “What’s your child’s birthday and year of birth?” I told her I don’t have children, but decided to share the birth info of my stepdaughter to move things along. That was the right answer. The company, its staff or computer had assumed that everyone has a kid and that my husband’s daughter–he uses the same company for a range of services—was also mine.

I immediately thought of a comment I read on Twitter by author Father James Martin, @JamesMartinSJ,  regarding the replacement of the fired House of Representatives Chaplain Father Patrick J. Conroy: “The idea that a priest can’t be House chaplain because he’s not a ‘family man’ is absurd and borderline anti-Catholic. Priests have families: mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews. Also, by that yardstick, Jesus Christ wouldn’t qualify.”

Father James Martin. Photo: ncregister.com

He was responding to a remark by Mark Walker, a Republican representative from North Carolina who is on a committee to find a new chaplain. According to The Hill, Walker said: “I’m looking for somebody who has a little age, that has adult children, that kind of can connect with the bulk of the body here, Republicans and Democrats who are going through, back home the wife, the family—that has some counseling experience…”

I take Walker’s comment a step beyond religion: Is Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor unable to do her job appropriately because she never married nor had children yet her judgments impact citizens?

Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Nobody knows for sure why the Chaplain was fired. According to America Magazine’s Michael J. O’Loughlin who wrote “House Republicans rebuff investigation into firing of Jesuit chaplain,” New York Representative Joe Crowley noted that “Mr. Ryan and other Republican members of Congress were unhappy with the chaplain for delivering a prayer in November they viewed as partisan.” Father Conroy reported to The New York Times that after he offered the prayer on taxes, Mr. Ryan told him, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”  While the Republican tax bill was on the table Father Conroy had urged the planners not to create “winners and losers.”

O’Loughlin wrote that “Mr. Ryan told Republican colleagues on Friday that some lawmakers felt Father Conroy was not providing appropriate pastoral care to House members.” I heard Representative Peter King from Long Island, NY disagree on TV news with this allegation.

So why did it take the House seven years to react if this was so? In his work as pastor at numerous churches as well as chaplain at Georgetown and Seattle Universities, for how many people had he provided pastoral care without complaint?

In a subsequent interview with Walker, Scott Wong reported in The Hill in “Conservative leader: Next House chaplain should have a family” that the congressman said “When you walk the journey of having a kid back home that’s struggling or made some bad decisions, or when you have a separation situation or your wife’s not understanding the [congressional] schedule, having somebody who’s walked in those shoes allows you to immediately related a little bit more than others.”

To be effective, must a grade school teacher have children; a female psychiatrist counsel women exclusively, or an obstetrician be female? Is an unmarried man or woman or a couple with no children, regardless of religion, without family? Is a doctor who doesn’t suffer from his/her specialty unqualified to treat that disease? Are there certain jobs unmarried or childless people are ill-equipped to have?

Father Patrick Conroy. Photo: youtube.com

 

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