There are more than a few YouTube videos of Elijah and me disagreeing with each other over the years. Unfortunately, there are no videos capturing his calls of encouragement to me. Or of me pushing him in his wheelchair — he would have done the same for me — because I wanted to talk with him while we walked. Or of Elijah going out of his way to encourage a member of my staff because he knew what it was like to be a young professional of color; because his desire to see her succeed exceeded any and every political difference they may have had.
In reality, less than 1 percent of our lives, even as members of Congress, are captured on social media, C-SPAN or in print. After that, there’s still the other 99 percent of life. The part where you call each other when one of you is having a bad day. Where you hire an idealistic young person in your offices because a colleague asks you to give someone a chance. Where you let your colleague across the aisle know something is coming, so he can prepare for it and not be surprised. The part of life where you share painful details of real life because you know that your colleague will never violate your trust. That’s the full picture of my friendship with Elijah Cummings: the meager 99 percent of life that’s not captured when you’re in politics.