Congressman Shot

This image from House Television shows House Republican Whip Steve Scalise speaking on the House floor of the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. To hugs and a roaring bipartisan standing ovation, Scalise returned to the House on Thursday, more than three months after a baseball practice shooting left him fighting for his life. (House Television via AP)

HOGP

If it has seemed like there’s a lack of national unity these days, the cheers and a few happy tears in the United States House of Representatives chamber on Thursday shows that it’s not all gone.

The triumphant return, albeit on crutches, of Steve Scalise to what he proudly called “the people’s House” marked a wonderful occasion for members of both parties.

The shootings in June at a practice session for the Republican baseball team in suburban Washington hurt Scalise severely. Months of surgeries and rehab have followed for the Jefferson Parish congressman.

Throughout his ordeal, the House came together to support the majority whip, from Speaker Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, and other Republican members, to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, who has been almost motherly in her solicitude.

“Our prayers have been answered,” Ryan said.

“Today, we are Team Scalise,” Pelosi added.

Let that spirit roll on.

Scalise’s recovery is still in progress. A rifle bullet at close range shattered his hip. He will still need the prayers and support of his extended House family, and the many thousands of well-wishers in Louisiana and the nation.

One of the two Capitol Police officers in Scalise’s security detail, who took down the assassin while they were armed only with handguns, remains at home recuperating from her injuries. Another was present for the congressman’s return to the chamber. The congressman thanked them with great emotion. We in Louisiana add our sincere thanks and gratitude for their service. Without the bravery of the officers, the gunman could have killed many more than he ultimately wounded.

We hope that the spirit of unity inspired by these events will not recede but grow in the coming months.

In a world where a madman could travel from Ohio to ambush people on a baseball diamond people in positions of responsibility should recognize that there is a common human vision of order and progress that transcends day-to-day political divisions. The rifle-wielding attacker had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP.

When the men and women of the House united behind their injured colleagues, they affirmed something good about Congress but also about a larger unity of purpose in public life. That is threatened by violence and fanaticism not only in Washington but around the world.

Welcome back, Rep. Scalise. And may the spirit you’re bringing with you become a lasting influence in the people’s House.