I don’t think I’m alone in believing that members of Congress — as a species — have devolved instead of evolved. The Perpetual Political Conflict™ that has stymied improvements in government of, for, and by the people has become a loathsome barrier to resurrecting the American Dream for whose who have lost sight of it. Voters get that. Folks in the street get that. But Congress critters, as a herd of panicked horses wearing blinders, don’t.
As a journalist, I’ve known many politicians — as individuals — at all levels of government in my professional lifetime. I’ve liked many of them, too. My favorite, the late Silvio O. Conte, who served 17 terms in the House, was my Republican congressman when I lived and worked in Massachusetts. He’d drop into the newsroom unannounced, wearing his Red Sox cap and jacket, just, he always said, to visit. But he was a politician, and he had a reason for every word he uttered and every action he took. And he’d take my newsroom godfather, statehouse reporter Neil Perry, aside … and promptly give Neil The Conte View of The Political World. That benefited Neil — but it surely benefited Silvio, too.
Conte had a receptive soul and a large Italian heart. His constituents knew that. That’s why they elected him repeatedly. His House colleagues knew it, too. That’s why Conte was an effective legislator.