It was a quirk of the calendar: Congressman Jim Himes was scheduled to meet constituents today, in Westport’s Town Hall.
He kept his appointment — just 48 hours after the horrific shooting in Arizona that left 6 people dead, and one of his colleagues critically wounded.
Himes acknowledged the tragedy — and the possibility that some in the overflow crowd were apprehensive.
But, he said, “We can’t function in an environment of fear.” Then he attended to the business at hand: answering questions, addressing concerns, serving the public.
That was exactly the right response.
After 9/11, we heard frequently: “If we don’t do [this, that or the other thing], the terrorists win.”
It’s unclear so far whether Saturday’s gunman had a political agenda, was mentally ill, or both. Whatever the answer, he created terror in our political system.
If congressmen retreat from one of their main jobs — meeting the public, hearing their thoughts, responding with their own insights — then not only will terror have won.
But our system of government — our American way of life — will have changed forever, too.