For the first time, scientists have done what once seemed unthinkable for a phenomenon whose presence was theoretical: captured a photographic image of a massive black hole.
The Event Horizon Telescope shows a ring of orange light with a pitch-black center, where the laws of physics are obliterated. Inside, gravity is so extreme that nothing which enters can escape.
Sounds kind of like Washington.
A whole lot of sound and fury that dissipates inside the nation's capital, leaving no discernable movement on virtually anything.
The media, myself included, tend to get caught up in each dazzling light show. But it's hard to find an issue these days where a solution escaped from the political darkness.
Since Donald Trump is the brightest star in the political firmament, he tends to dim many other sources of light. The press grades him each day from sunrise to sunset (as well as on his pre-dawn and late-night tweets).
There's so much pontification and posturing on all sides, but what emerges in the end? Immigration is only the latest example of a battle royale where nothing ends up happening. The firings at Homeland Security won't change the border crisis over migrant families. Congress remains paralyzed on the issue, just as it was during the Obama administration and the Bush administration. The president, backing off a threat to close the border, declared a national emergency that will remain tied up in the courts, and a judge has blocked his policy of making asylum seekers wait in Mexico.
In short, it's a black hole.
The same applies to all the back-and-forth on health care. Trump announced he'd come up with a better replacement for ObamaCare, Republicans freaked out, and Trump said never mind, that will come after the election. Bernie Sanders yesterday introduced a Medicare for All bill that makes ObamaCare look like tinkering. The measure would wipe out all private insurance and force everyone onto a government-run plan. It has absolutely no chance of passing.
Fade to black.
Run through the issues and the dark picture is the same.
The president talked about a major push on infrastructure in his State of the Union. Neither side has put a plan on the table.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is promoting a Green New Deal that gave Republicans a juicy target but that Nancy Pelosi has no plans to bring to a vote.
Remember when Trump spent the last couple of weeks during the midterms touting a second tax cut aimed at the middle class? That's vanished.
The House passed tougher background checks for gun purchases, but the Senate isn't touching it.
And the soaring budget deficit? Don't even ask.
Even the endlessly covered Mueller investigation wound up hitting a wall, with no further criminal charges.
In this galaxy, cooperation is weakness and compromise is alien. No one wants to give the other side a win.
With the one-time exception of criminal justice reform, bipartisanship has vanished. Everything's already about positioning for 2020, whether it's slavery reparations or abolishing the Electoral College.
It's sunny in Washington during cherry blossom season, but from the outside, it sure looks like a black hole.