September 1, 2014

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

On August 16, Congressman Paul Ryan was asked by CBS News what he thought of the Netflix series, “House of Cards.” He said, “It turned my stomach so much that I just couldn’t watch it any more.” What upset Ryan most was when Frank Underwood, a married Congressman played by actor Kevin Spacey, had an affair with a young reporter. Ryan said, “His behavior was so reprehensible, and it hit close to home because he was a House member, that it bothered me too much. And what I thought is, it makes us all look like we’re like that.”

Politicians ranging from John McCain to Hillary Clinton have found humor in engaging Spacey and his show. Why the seriousness from Ryan? First, Ryan is a faithful Catholic. He pays attention to the connection between Christian principles and personal conduct. Second, he values his work in Congress and his colleagues. At this juncture he decided to say enough is enough. Ryan is aware of how low the American people regard both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. Poll after poll has revealed that less than 10% of us think Congress is doing “a good job.” As bad as things have been in the past, we now have dismally low opinions of all politicians in both parties.

Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is a very bad form of government, but the others are so much worse.” When we continually belittle and ridicule our elected officials, we begin to look for a knight on a great horse to save us. This person can become a dictator. Adolf Hitler was viewed in this way by the German people in 1933. Paul Ryan is correct. Seeing Congress as a moral cesspool or as a group of incompetents does not help our country. It is time to focus upon our Representatives and make changes when needed. With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,