Ryan deserves our gratitude

Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has rendered very valuable service to his fellow Americans during his 20 years in Congress. His role has been especially valuable during the past year and a half.

Ryan, R-Wisc., revealed Wednesday he will not seek re-election. He said his reasoning is entirely personal. He wants to spend more time with his children rather than continuing to be a “weekend dad.”

Most people will understand that, we think. Family comes first.

But life as a member of Congress, away from home much of the time and often, busy campaigning even when back in one’s home state, is nothing new for Ryan. He has been involved in that for a generation.

The past couple of years must have been especially trying, however. As leader of Republicans in the House, then with a GOP president, Ryan’s world has become a real pressure cooker.

He has handled it well — much better than some other figures on the national stage — to judge by appearances.

Perhaps Ryan’s most praiseworthy accomplishment has been as a sort of peacemaker in his own party. With the House, Senate and White House not always in agreement, Ryan seems to have been successful in finding middle ground.

That is the essence of politics, of course.

Americans of all political persuasions owe Ryan our gratitude. With it comes the wish that his successor will be able to be even more successful in making the pressure cooker a servant of the people.