You know, sometimes humanity can be pleasantly surprising.
Washington, D.C. is often deeply partisan and divided, and around the time of the State of the Union Address, people retreat to their respective corners and dig in their heels. Just flip on any cable news station to hear the rhetoric and talking points pouring out from both sides.
But those 30-second sound bites don’t tell, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”
A good friend just told me how a former colleague from across the aisle tried to help him out recently. This friend of mine wanted to go back to the Hill to serve on an important committee and his former colleague recommended him to the Staff Director who was a member of party Y.
Party X colleague told the Staff Director how my friend was a professional staff member impartial to politics and, instead, focused on working toward the best overall outcome. Party X colleague wanted to make sure that that the Staff Director knew this person would be perfect for the open role.
The Staff Director responded, “We are all one committee” and Party X colleague was thanked for the recommendation and input.
In this era of bitter partisan bickering in front of the cameras, it’s refreshing to know that, behind the cameras, many good people (staff AND Members) often work together to honorably serve our country and our system of government. This example of mutual respect between staff of different political parties demonstrates what those of us who work professionally in politics and policy see daily. Unfortunately, the rest of the country mainly sees the partisan divide and vitriolic rhetoric that takes place over the air waves.
Don’t believe all the news coverage and hype.
Rest assured that much of the work done within and around Congress is by good people who are doing what they feel is best for the country. The cogs in the wheel of democracy will keep turning to keep our nation moving forward, and when it does, it will be because of the mutual respect of hardworking people with differing views who understand the dramatic effect of teamwork.