Paul Ryan, it’s time to go home

It has now been a full year since the elections that brought a morally reprehensible person into the White House. By now, any remaining negligible hope that the man who was elected president might “pivot” and show even a semblance of the type of moral leadership expected from the holder of this position has drowned in the swamp that he so hypocritically vows to drain.

In the course of the elections, we were met with an occasional and largely insincere smattering of spineless criticism from the Republican leadership, every now and then. After release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tapes, in which Trump prided himself in forcing himself on women and being able to grab them by the genitals, there was a short period of silence from Republican leaders. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz even went as far as to rescind his support, noting that with a 15 year old daughter, he couldn’t bring himself to support Trump. Interestingly, in the aftermath, he managed to forget about his daughter fairly quickly. It’s remarkable how sparingly that principles, integrity, honor and courage are related to politics these day.

Arguably the most morally bankrupt Republican politician today is Paul Ryan.  This man, who once stood as a vice presidential candidate for an honorable man, Mitt Romney, has lost any shred of respect that I once had for him. Following the very most revolting comments and behaviors of Trump, Ryan occasionally–when pressed and appearing as though in a hostage video–surfaces to make a weak statement. The man who noted that Trump made a “textbook racist comment” continues to support him to this day. Why? Tax reform, of course. Isn’t it obvious?

What Ryan fails to understood, as is fitting for a man lacking any moral courage, is that however one feels about tax reform–he is selling out the country by supporting a president who does not respect our democracy.

How many times will Trump attack American judges before Ryan speaks out against him? How many times will Ryan and the weak Republican leadership fail to reprimand a president who continuously complains about the FBI and the Department of Justice, and sees fit to interfere with ongoing investigations? Does Ryan–and his fellow leaders on the hill–not understand that taxes are meaningless in comparison to the threat to our unique democracy? I will accept ANY kind of tax system that congress and leaders agree on–as long as we prevent our democracy from sliding toward the type of autocratic system that the president is pushing for. But our system of justice and equality must be protected. And Ryan is asleep at the wheel.

It is time for Ryan to step down and allow Republican leaders who value moral clarity to take his place. There comes a time when not speaking out can only be viewed as endorsement–and by supporting morally reprehensible behavior, by default, one becomes morally reprehensible.


About Steve Caplan

I am a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where I mentor a group of students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers working on endocytic protein trafficking. My first lablit novel, "Matter Over Mind," is about a biomedical researcher seeking tenure and struggling to overcome the consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. Lablit novel #2, "Welcome Home, Sir," published by Anaphora Literary Press, deals with a hypochondriac principal investigator whose service in the army and post-traumatic stress disorder actually prepare him well for academic, but not personal success. Novel #3, "A Degree of Betrayal," is an academic murder mystery. "Saving One" is my most recent novel set at the National Institutes of Health. Now IN PRESS: Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure: The Case for Basic Biomedical Research (CRC PRESS, 2021). All views expressed are my own, of course--after all, I hate advertising.
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