It’s hard not to appreciate just how awful this video of compassionate conservative Paul Ryan really is. Having shown up too late to actually volunteer to help those in need, he settled down to pretend to wash some dishes.
You do have to give Ryan credit for one thing. This empty gesture almost perfectly embodies the current Republican attitude about the poor, that they should be exploited for every possible end to enrich and empower a select few.
Ryan has recently pretended to renounce his Randian view of the world, but this PR stunt makes perfect sense from a man who once said "I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff."
Of late, Mr. Ryan has put a great deal of stock in his religious faith, but it seems that he may have forgotten to read much of the message of the New Testament, which calls on its believers to humbly take care of each other as brothers, not use each other for political ends. There’s a difference between pretending to wash dishes for the press and the actions of Christ:
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:12-15)
Ryan is no exception to contemporary Christianity without compassion, but this arranged PR moment lays bare the conservative disregard for poverty in this country and the poverty of compassion that drives the Republican Party today.