It turns out that Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has learned something about his Senate colleagues, particularly those with whom he has been fighting for many years over politics and policy.
They’re human beings, family men and women, individuals with big hearts that are full of compassion and love.
Inhofe sat down with David Gregory on “Meet the Press” and revealed something that on the surface doesn’t seem like much of a story. Then again, maybe it is, given the climate in Washington, D.C.
Inhofe’s son, Perry, was killed recently in a plane crash. The senator and his family have been grief-stricken over their loss. Inhofe revealed to Gregory that senators from the other side, Democrats, reached out to him in ways that seemed to surprise him.
I’m not sure why it would surprise the senator. They all have families as well. They’re human beings, with human feelings and emotions.
Inhofe said, “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I seem to have gotten more — well at least as many, maybe more — communications from some of my Democrat friends.”
I do not know how to process that remark. Inhofe isn’t suggesting Democrats are more compassionate than Republicans. However, for him to single out his Democratic colleagues in that manner strikes me as, well, just a tad unusual.
Inhofe spoke of his battles with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “Harry and I … disagree on all this stuff, this political stuff. But we were both married the same year, in 1959. And we’ve both had some illnesses. So yeah, I would say that when something like this happens, you get closer together. The differences are still there. … But your attitude changes,” said Inhofe.
As the Huffington Post reported, “In the wake of his personal tragedy, Inhofe said, ‘all of a sudden the old barriers that were there — the old differences, those things that keep us apart — just disappear. It’s not just a recognition that I know how much more important this is, but they do, too. And they look out. And they realize that you’ve lost someone. And that brings us closer together.'”
The Huffington Post describes Inhofe as one of the Senate’s more partisan members. It calls him an “archconservative” who has battled tooth and nail with Democrats continually over the years.
I watched the interview this morning. I saw a man in great pain talking about his feelings in the wake of his son’s death. I also think I saw a glimmer of gratitude for the love that flowed his way from across the aisle.
These kinds of stories remind us that we’re all imbued with the same essence. It’s called humanity.