I'm in Washington, D.C., on a lobbying trip with the Loretto Community, planned six months ago. We identified seven issues, invited members to come along, wrote fact sheets and prayers, and, eight weeks ago, began praying and writing to Congress, one issue a week. We set the date as best we could, looking at our community calendar and our own lives. But privately, we all thought Congress might even have gone home. Surely we would slog away in July heat, saying the same-old, same-old to bored staff.
Last night's State of the Union was not the best or the worst such speech. And it reflected the political realities of the day. Gone is the aspiration to change the way Washington works. Gone is most of the hope and change. The agenda has shrunk in the five years of Barack Obama's presidency.