Frederick Douglass once said: ‘You are not judged by the height you have risen, but from the depth you have climbed.’
One hundred and fifty years ago, our nation resolved to climb out of the deepest, darkest chapter in American history–the insidious institution of slavery. –Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Yesterday, President Barack Obama; House Speaker Paul Ryan and House and Senate leaders (I hope House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was comfortable with his role during the ceremony); members of the Congressional Black Caucus; and other House members, Senators and guests commemorated 150 years since the ratification of the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. The august ceremony was held, most appropriately, in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, DC.
That profound, meaningful and important moment seemed to garner relatively little media attention and comment.
America has a new Speaker of the House of Representatives: Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The 54th Speaker of the House–the first Speaker from the state of Wisconsin–succeeds former Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who is also resigning his seat at the end of the year. Ryan was officially elected this morning by House members and sworn in by the dean of the House, Rep. John Conyers.
I could say a lot about the way business is conducted in the House of Representatives, and about how Members sometimes conduct themselves–and very little of it would be good.
Still, I am proud to see the peaceful transfer of power, whether it’s for a new President of the United States or Speaker of the House. Our country’s politics is so far from perfect, but this is a much preferred method of resolving our political differences than other methods to settle political disputes. And it is good to see the Members act like human beings instead of combatants. I saw more examples of unity and pageantry than displayed for the State of the Union address.