The shooting in Alexandria is a tragedy for all Americans. We can resort to our corners, default to the usual partisanship, and devolve into tribalism. However, that would be intellectually and morally dishonest. That's because it is not inconceivable the there are Americans of all political persuasions who are stressed and under duress. That in no way excuses the shooter's actions, but it does emphasize that the shooting is bigger than party affiliation and candidate preference. And at the end of the day, what did it accomplish?
I'm glad that the parties came together in Congress. But it's a disgrace that it takes an event of this nature which affects them directly and personally for them to understand that they are not in congress to serve themselves, or to at least check in and understand what pain, worry and fear are.
Those are things many of their own constituents feel and live every day, and Congress is oblivious to their plights.
The pathetic thing is that the congressional communion and fellowship never lasts, it never changes anything, and nothing ever gets accomplished afterwards. For all of the talk in the Capitol today about being "united," what got accomplished in Congress following Gabby Giffords, Ft. Hood, Sandy Hood, the Sikh Temple, San Bernardino, Charleston or the Pulse in Orlando?
And there in lies the problem. Coming together and saying nice words across the isle because people they know got shot is completely meaningless if tomorrow or next week the Republicans force through their destructive and pernicious healthcare bill and if Trump goes forward to weaken Department of Labor workplace rules that protect employees.
That means that despite the tragedy, Congress both missed the point and missed the opportunity to demonstrate they really can get things done to help real people, not lobbyists and donors.
I don't give a damn about a congressional baseball game for PR and photo ops for feigned congressional collegiality when Congress works less than 120 days a year and gets nothing done. If Congress is in the Capitol actually working, there's less exposure for danger. Those officers didn't get shot protecting the Capitol. They were shot because had the misfortune of being assigned to be bodyguards for someone doing something that had nothing to do with writing legislation or doing congressional oversight on issues that matter. It means that Congress is as tone deaf as ever to the people across America who are hurting, feel hopeless and have no other options, while Congress plays baseball with the people who fill their pockets.
In a few weeks, Congress will break for the summer, ostensibly to go home to work in their districts. A break from WHAT? Yet after six months they will have accomplished nothing this year. What you will see during their break is Congressmen travelling all over the country and all over the world at both taxpayer and lobbyist expense, or grinning at fundraisers. But what does any if that have to do with creating good paying jobs, making sure that people can afford to go to the doctor and that their vote is protected?
In no way do I condone the shooting or violence at any time for any reason. I believe it was an act of domestic terrorism, no matter the party or arguments by either side.. Maybe I am a cynic But If I sound a little less than empathetic, tough shit. The time for fake Kumbaya motions and symbols is long past.
Wakeup Congress, and do the people's work instead of thinking of yourselves.
I would be remiss to not acknowledge that the real heroes today are the Capitol Police who did their jobs under fire, literally. They are owed a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. Their courage knows no bounds. I know know that. Our son-in-law is a Capitol Police Officer and we worry every day, but we take comfort in knowing that people like him and his colleagues are on the job.