Ali Stood for Principle Despite Costs, a Lesson for Today’s Politicians

They were gone in an hour. All 15,000 tickets to Friday’s public memorial service for Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., were gone that quickly. Lines stretched around the block, with the crowd shouting “Ali” when the box office opened on Wednesday, a tribute to the spirit of a man whose boxing career was finished before some in the line were born.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), in introducing a resolution this week honoring the life and legacy of Ali, called him “a great American” and “a true champion for humanity,” whose “talents transcended the ring into the global community where he selflessly put the interests of helping others above his own.” Butterfield’s resolution said Ali “stood on principle to end racism and bigotry.”

Principled is not what anyone would call the words and actions this week from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a recently declared supporter of Donald Trump, to lead the Republican Party presidential ticket in November. Ryan called Trump’s based-on-ethnicity attack on an American judge of Mexican descent hearing a case against Trump University the “textbook definition of a racist comment.” Then he said he is still in Trump’s corner.