It is beyond sad that it took a member of Congress getting shot to wake this town up to the divisive ugliness that has been poisoning political dialog for years.
But I will take my silver linings and lemons-from-lemonade where I can get them.
A Republican and Democrat hugging publicly on CNN was sufficiently rare to be noted by the anchors interviewing them as a first (I am surprised it was not later recycled into the news wheel as BREAKING NEWS!!!)
And even Donald Trump broke from his barrage of personal attacks to be, well, presidential, in a call for comity.
The Democrats won the congressional baseball game Thursday night 11 to 2 (no surprise there given recent history). But the trophy is going to Steve Scalise, the Republican majority whip fighting for his life in a Washington hospital, and everyone wore a hat from Scalise's alma mater during the game in solidarity. Note to the President: The game was not about winners and losers.
The danger now, as with the calls for tighter gun controls after Sandy Hook, is that good intentions will fade with time, which for some reason tends to reopen political wounds rather than heal them.
The President, who has been leveling his typical, tweeted, charges about fake media and the ongoing investigations into Russia, paused to include journalists in his blessings for the country. And of the baseball game, where Republicans and Democrats dropped the boxing gloves to don the baseball variety to raise money for charity, the President said in a video that aired at the ballpark before the game:
"In Washington, we have our disagreements. But we all agree that we are here to serve this nation we love, and the people who call it home. That is the source of unity, and more than ever, we must embrace it.
"So on this special night, I leave you with three great American words that for generations have torn down barriers, built bridges of unity, and defied those who have sought to pull us apart. Ladies and gentlemen: let's play ball!"
I would hope that would extend to the political field of play. Let's play ball on a health care compromise, on a budget that serves all Americans, on cybersecurity—which should not be political but is. (OK, but I can dream, can't I?)
Of course there will be passionate disagreements, of course both sides will have to give up something, of course it will be difficult. But the hate and the demonization and treating vital issues as a zero-sum political game must end.
Come on Washington, "Let's play ball."
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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