American exceptionalism has always rested upon its ideals, not its oft-erratic practices. The party of Lincoln sprang into existence in 1854 as a party of idealists — a party heavily laden with abolitionists seeking a better life for all humankind, a party intent on adding luster to the founding father’s idealism of liberty for all.

Unfortunately to hear him speak, you would think that Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t noticed the gigantic flip-flop away from his party’s original ideals.

I guess he hasn’t notice his party’s thirty years of dog whiling bigots, its drive for voter suppression, its Johnny-one-note practice of shoveling the nation’s wealthy with both hands up to its wealthiest benefactors — a win at all cost despotism.

And now the Republican Party has finally reached idealistic rock bottom with Breithbartism, an American version of Nazism with Donald J. Trump as its poster boy.

Yes, Paul Ryan is a good man. But you know what they say about good men: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Get off your hands, Mr. Speaker, act now!

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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