Civil rights were at the core of politics for Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died early Thursday morning at the age of 68.
He showed that it is not only OK, but necessary, to stand up for equality, regardless of how unpopular.
Lawmakers in today’s acrimonious political environment could learn a lot about working across the aisle from Cummings. Cummings became known as a shrewd negotiator, but also someone who could and would compromise where warranted. You never had to wonder what the lawmaker with no patience for small talk was thinking or where he stood on an issue; straightforward and with integrity was how he preferred to operate.
“A lot of people call me a bridge builder, but sometimes I feel like I’m the bridge itself, ” he said after winning his congressional seat. “I often become the bridge, so people can begin to concentrate on what they have in common as opposed to what differences they have.”