There is little question that when it comes to headlines, it's often the sensational, the embarrassing, the lurid ones that garner the most attention. As a society, we can't help ourselves: We just love to read about people who screw up or cause a scene, especially those in politics.
Take Wednesday's tense meeting at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport between President Obama and Gov. Jan Brewer. The Associated Press photo of Brewer wagging her finger in front of Obama's rather pinched-looking face was all over the Internet within hours - probably minutes - of being taken. Let's be clear: We're not saying Brewer did anything wrong. We weren't there to hear their exchange, and she told Capitol Media Services later that she wasn't pointing at the president in anger, but was just being rather animated. According to the pool of journalists closest to the scene, it appeared that Obama walked away from Brewer as she continued to try to talk to him. That's not respectful behavior on his part - a snub that occurred less than 24 hours after he gave a State of the Union address in which he emphasized the need for our elected leaders to work together for the good of the nation.
Now contrast that scene on the tarmac with one that was happening about the same time in the nation's Capitol as Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords officially resigned from Congress. Fellow Democrat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida read Gifford's letter aloud on the House floor as she stood next to Giffords. And the others surrounding Gabby? Members of the Arizona Congressional delegation, including East Valley Republicans Jeff Flake and David Schweikert. In fact, throughout most of those emotional minutes as her letter was read aloud, it was Flake who held Gifford's hand for moral support. And the night before, during the State of the Union address, every time Obama said something the Democrats cheered, it was Giffords' Republican colleague Flake who helped her to stand and be part of the ovation for the president.
Arizona has been smacked around a lot by many who see our views as too conservative, our ways too Wild West, our policies too divisive. But this week, when a fellow Arizonan who has endured so much resigned her Congressional seat, the politics didn't matter. Our elected leaders from both parties stood as one - and showed the nation a thing or two about the character of those who hail from the Grand Canyon state.
They made Arizona proud.