A National Pastime

A National Pastime

Despite the political differences that divide the nation, the game of baseball serves as a unifying tradition that we can all take part in. As stated in the 1989 film, Field of Dreams: “The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.” Though we live in a polarized era, these words hold an even stronger significance today.

 

 

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Congressional Baseball Game. This bipartisan event, which has become a Washington, D.C. tradition between Republicans and Democrats, is an opportunity for members of Congress to come together as friends and raise money for local charities. Though these reasons alone are enough to put political differences aside for a good cause, this year’s game had an even more meaningful purpose.

 

On the morning of June 14th, I arrived for work at the Capitol like any other day this summer. However, as I entered the building, I received a text message from a friend notifying me of a shooting that had occurred earlier that morning in Alexandria. As more information was made available, it became clear that Republican lawmakers were deliberately targeted while practicing for the annual game for charity. Panic swept across Capitol Hill, as thousands of interns, staffers, and representatives wondered if our friends and colleagues were safe. In total, four innocent people were shot out of over fifty rounds fired, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. If it weren’t for the brave actions of the Capitol Police, it would have been much worse. Though everyone in our office was sickened by this nefarious act, we were comforted and inspired by the calls of House leaders for the game to go on.

 

 

Aside from the initial shock that this incident spurred, this attack hit home for me in multiple ways. As a lifelong baseball fan and as an American, the thought that anyone would consider a vile act like this is shocking. Additionally, working in the Congressional Office of a House Republican made this politically motivated attack especially disturbing. Despite the new low in civil discourse that this incident might represent, I have never felt a greater sense of pride in my country or in my beliefs than when all of Nationals' Park rose in unison for the national anthem at the game the next day. Regardless of political affiliation, we are all Americans and we are all human beings. Though it sometimes takes tragedy and crisis to realize this, we have much more in common than we have dividing us.

 

 

Ray Mosca

 

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