Hey, did you know that there's an annual Congressional baseball game?
You might have learned that today for the first time because some fuckwit with a gun showed up at an early morning practice for one of the teams and opened fire. Five people, including a member of the House of Representatives, were shot.
I’m so angry abut this that I can barely type.
You see, my husband was once a Capitol Hill staffer. Dozens of my friends are current and former Capitol Hill staffers. One of my friends — who is a former Hill staffer — lives close enough to the field where the shooting took place that she was woken up by the sounds of gunfire.
This is personal. This is my community.
So I don’t want to talk AT ALL about the political affiliation of any single person involved in any of this because it’s not relevant. Do you hear me? NOT RELEVANT.
Capitol Hill isn’t just a landmark, it isn’t just an institution, it isn’t just a symbol that we all toss around to score points in debate.
It is a workplace. Thousands of people work in congressional offices every day.
They are human beings with goals, and families, and principles, and dogs, and dreams, and student loans, and patriotic sensibilities, and plans for happy hour with friends. They go to work every day to help keep the machinery of the Unities States government in working order. And they also go to work to engage in water cooler gossip, gripe about traffic, share news of academic and family events, and to do a hundred other things that people in any workplace might do.
Like any workplace, there is a lot of fun to be had working on Capitol Hill. There are receptions and happy hours. You can go to interesting presentations and network with top people in different fields. Sometimes Congressional offices make sports bets with each other — usually over playoff games, and the bets are usually about food. Check the social media feed of the Senator of the Super Bowl winner one year. You might see photos of them eating a feast of regional specialities supplied by the office of the Super Bowl loser’s Senator. Senator Franken hosts an annual Hotdish Contest where members of the Minnesota delegation cook casseroles and a panel of judges picks the winner.
It’s fun. It’s endearing. It’s regular life.
The Congressional baseball game is one of these fun events. The annual Democrats-versus-Republicans game has been happening for over 100 years. It is a highlight of summer among Beltway folks. They play in the Washington Nationals’ stadium and it’s a big night for everyone who likes politics and baseball and drinking a beer with friends. The teams raise money for charities like The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, and The Washington Literacy Center.
This year's game is going to be dedicated to the victims of recent terror attacks in London and Manchester, England.
So this morning, it was not just a group of politicians and their staffers who were attacked. It was a group of coworkers practicing for a workplace event that they might have been looking forward to all year. They were up early to hit the field and get some practice in. There was probably a lot of laughter and some friendly smack talk going on. They were probably all thinking that winning the game would be good, but just playing outdoors with friends and colleagues on a summer morning was pretty damn fun in and of itself.
And then some fuckwit opened fire. And he shot people who could have been my husband, or any of his bosses, or any of his coworkers, or any of our myriad friends on the Hill. And I am shattered.
The game will go on as planned tomorrow night. I, for one, will be donating to one of the charities the game supports. And I’ll watch it on tv and cheer for all the dedicated people who took time to do this charity event with their coworkers.