If you have any access at all the media, you've seen that Representative Elijah Cummings of Baltimore died early this morning.
This is devastating news for a number of reasons, and there are plenty of articles about all the ways he will be missed. But, speaking for myself, it's devastating because he was a kind, decent, honorable man in a job where kindness, decency, and honor are rare. Where integrity is rare. And getting more rare every day.
Of the many, many words being said about Representative Cummings today, my favorite were spoken by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she said "He lived the American dream, and he wanted it for everyone else."
Image taken from 60 Minutes and CBS News
I haven't read all the news stories. But I've read enough to know that Cummings' part in the impeachment inquiry... and the disgusting attacks on him and the city he loved by The President of the United States of America... are taking center stage. And it makes me more than a little angry. He is so much more than that. The man served as a lawyer for nearly 20 years before devoting the rest of his life to public service. He worked day-in and day-out to better the lives of the people he represented. To better the life of all of us. He fought to keep us healthier, safer, smarter, and more secure. He was tireless in trying to make government more transparent, lobbyists less powerful, and elections more fair. He devoted himself to public service and worked to make sure that future generations would devote themselves to it as well. He encouraged more diverse voices to represent us at all levels of government. He was an inspiration to legions of people for all that and much more. He was certainly an inspiration to me.
And I hope that doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
For some insight into Representative Cummings thoughts on current events and his life and service in general, there was a pretty good story by 60 Minutes on him at the beginning of the year. I urge you to watch it. He is so smart, funny, warm, and charming. He was liked and respected on both sides of the aisle. It's no accident that he became a giant in the political arena...
A huge chunk of Congress could evaporate and I wouldn't miss them. I will, however, miss Representative Elijah Cummings. A lot.
Rest in peace, sir. Your life of service will not be easily forgotten.