(CNN)Watching pro-Trump rioters storm and ultimately overtake the US Capitol on Wednesday, my overwhelming emotion wasn’t anger or embarrassment — although I felt both. It was sadness.
Covering the world of politics has been the work of my entire professional life. I did it — and do it — because it is an honor and a privilege to get to see how our American democracy operates up close.And yes, while there are always a few bad eggs — and those bad eggs tend to draw inordinate amounts of attention to themselves — what I’ve found in my two decades(!) doing this work is that the vast majority of the people in elected office are in it for noble reasons.
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They truly want to make a difference — and believe that serving in office is the best way to do that. You may not agree with their beliefs or the way they vote on a particular issue but, in the main, they are doing so because, well, they believe it.Read MoreTo see those people — and the reporters who cover them day in and day out — being forced to shelter in place in their workplace as lawless insurrectionists egged on by a President interested solely in preserving his own self-image as a “winner” commandeered the Capitol was heartbreaking.Because when we allow might to top right, we are in a very bad place. When members of Congress have to fear for their well-being simply for doing their constitutional duty, we are in a very bad place. When lawlessness is normalized by a President who tells people occupying the Capitol that he loves them, we are in a very bad place.And by “we,” I don’t mean Democrats or Republicans or the media or any other group in the country. I mean all of us. Doomscrolling the horrific images on Capitol Hill — a makeshift gallows set up on the West Front of the Capitol, for one — all that kept running through my head is: “We’re better than this. We’re better than this.””We,” because what we have in common — yes, even the lawless protesters who have been convinced by this President that being tough is the same thing as being right — is far, far greater than what we differ on.Donald Trump has spent four years weaponizing our small differences and ignoring both our common humanity and the common good. What happened today at the US Capitol is the natural result of the total lack of leadership.The Point: If you’re not sad — and a little scared — by what is happening in Washington right now, you’re not paying enough attention.