Back To Normal?

Broadcast December 14, 2001

One of the things we're hearing a lot these days from political leaders is "We need to try to get our lives back to normal." None of us can go back to exactly what we were doing before September 11th, of course, and no one's suggesting we should stop grieving for those who died and for the innocence America lost that day. But our political leaders are asking that we at least try to take up where we left off. And step by step, most of us are doing so. . . .

Except in Washington. That's the one place in the nation where almost no one is going back to doing what they were doing before September 11th.

Prior to that date, you remember the Washington media were obsessed with Congressman Gary Condit and his former intern, who had gone missing. Maybe you know more than I do, but I haven't heard a word since then about the congressman or his missing intern. Meanwhile, you may recall, Democrats and the White House had finally reached broad agreement on legislation providing prescription drugs for seniors. Whatever happened to prescription drugs?

There was also going to be a Patients Bill of Rights. After months of fighting over its provisions, Republicans and Democrats had reached a compromise on that, too. But I haven't heard a word about it since, have you?

And an effort was under way to keep campaign finance reform alive in the House, where it had almost died. Remember campaign finance reform? It's almost as if Washington is suffering from collective amnesia.

It's also had a personality transplant. Before September 11th, Washington was a nasty place. No one had much nice to say about anyone else. Democrats were accusing the Bush administration of incompetence or worse. Republicans were heaping vitriol on Democrats.

Well, these days, no one is criticizing the White House. Not even issues that are sparking controversy around the rest of the nation, like the impact of recent national security orders on civil liberties, are causing much of a stir in our nation's capital.

While the rest of us are trying to put our lives back to some semblance of the way they were before September 11th, that's not true for the inhabitants of our nation's capital. They're not taking up where they left off. For better or worse, they're leaving all that behind.

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