Press Release

ADL Commends Speaker Paul Ryan’s Remarks on Civility

“They Needed To Be Said”

New York, NY, March 24, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul D. Ryan (R-WI), for his leadership call for civility and for raising the level of political discourse.

In his remarks yesterday to a group of House interns, Speaker Ryan stressed the significance of debating civilly without questioning one’s motives. “We don’t shut down on people, and we don’t shut people down…We don’t insult them into agreeing with us. We try to persuade them.’

Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:

Speaker Ryan chose to deliver his forward-looking remarks to a group of young people, referencing a less bruising and polarized time in our history. His mentoring remarks come at a crucial time when the rhetoric espoused by some of the presidential hopefuls has been dispiriting and quite concerning. We commend the Speaker for highlighting this issue and providing a sound voice in the mix.

When our national discourse turns ugly – as it has in recent months – and when those who aspire to leadership roles disparage some Americans because of their race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or other characteristics, we are diminished as a nation. What Speaker Ryan said is fundamental. It needed to be said, and we are pleased that he did.

It is not by accident that the words ‘E Pluribus Unum’ – out of many, one – appear on the Great Seal of the United States. Throughout our history, our diversity and our pluralism have made America unique. Our nation has always drawn strength from the fact that there are Americans of every race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, and nationality willing to engage in vigorous debate but also ultimately to respect the rule of law, the rights of individuals, and the principles of equality, justice, and fair play.

The 2016 election campaign rhetoric has trafficked in the most toxic stereotypes, with some events even devolving into violent clashes. Like Speaker Ryan, ADL has tried to seize this teachable moment for young people

Speaker Ryan not only identified a problem, he promoted part of its solution to his young audience: ‘….when people distrust politics, they come to distrust institutions. They lose faith in their government, and the future too. We can acknowledge this. But we don’t have to accept it. And we cannot enable it either.’

We are at our best when we engage and exercise our civic duty in a civil manner, focused on creating a stronger, safer and healthier future for the generations to come.

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, ADL takes no position on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for office.