Ryan’s Impressive Message of Unity
Did you get to see the short speech that House Speaker Paul Ryan gave to Congress shortly after last month’s tragic shooting at the Republican team’s baseball practice in Virginia? We found his words, his message, and particularly his presentation style to be quite powerful and moving.
Did you get to see the short speech that House Speaker Paul Ryan gave on the House floor earlier this month in response to the tragic shooting at the Republican baseball practice in Virginia? If you missed it, it’s worth listening to his moving and even inspiring words, if only for the fact that they sounded so different from what we expect to hear from politicians.
Ryan’s words were well-chosen and well-spoken. Ryan’s message was uniting; his voice filled with emotion as he named the people who were shot and recognized those who had been heroic in their actions. What really set this speech apart was his optimistic and hopeful tone, particularly as he talked about how he was struck by seeing his Democratic colleagues standing together, heads bowed in prayer, after learning of the shooting.
Ryan has been in a somewhat difficult position on Capitol Hill, often faced with responding to difficult questions about the general feeling of mistrust coming from Washington. But he had an opportunity to change his tone during this speech, and the result was touching and inspiring.
Ryan slowed his pace down, adding pauses and speaking very slowly to his colleagues. He conveyed some of the raw emotions he was feeling about a tragic event that had happened only hours earlier. He looked back and forth across the room to emphasize that he was speaking to everyone assembled in the chamber. He spoke of setting aside politics and remembering what all of us have in common. His body language showed that he was serious.
He paused for a particularly long time (3 seconds) prior to saying “We are united,” enunciating each word individually. And in uttering the phrase “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” he changed his vocal pattern once again, pausing briefly between each word of that thought, showing us that it was perhaps the most important message in his speech.
And he closed his speech with a reminder about the words he had already spoken, repositioned as a call to action: “I ask each of you to join me in resolving to come together…to lift each other up…and to show the country—show the world—that we are one House…that we are united.”
Clearly, people responded to Ryan’s call for unity. It certainly was different than most of what we hear coming out of Washington.