Last night I spent a rare evening in our DC apartment, since Roe and Nate are arriving from Boston this afternoon for a long weekend. Sirens blare often, a Connecticut Avenue constant, and no more or less than usual, but I couldn’t help wondering if instead of a motorcade or a fire, there was something else going on akin to the morning’s horrific story about a madman hunting Congressmen with a rifle and forever changing half a dozen lives if not the culture of our capital.
There’s been much commentary over the past 24 hours about political adversaries coming together in sorrow and in unity – from the well of the House chamber to the hallways of the Medstar Washington Hospital Center. An aspect of that is undeniably heartwarming and encouraging. But it’s tethered to a deeper sadness that this is the best we can do – that this is what it takes to remind a diverse group of basically good human beings to act human. Still, after years of relentless political warfare, even the briefest of respites is welcome. Especially if it creates some muscle memory so that in the days ahead there’s a reflex to put caring ahead of accusing, kindness ahead of counting votes.
By late in the evening some of the usual cable news combatants were already retreating to their corners, tentatively testing whether the appetite had returned for using the day’s events to taint their adversaries. But it was only some – and that’s progress.