Salena Zito

One area of true civility that occurs consistently in American politics, yet is acknowledged rarely, is the working relationships within state delegations.

These often are made up of members from different parties, ideologies, backgrounds and regions. Yet state delegations almost always work through their differences for the good of their state.

“A recent example was the work of the very diverse New York delegation to get the 911 First Responder bill passed,” Brauer said.

Pennsylvanians can expect a good working relationship, he added, between Senators Pat Toomey, a Republican, and Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat, “even though they have quite different ideological approaches.”

Tough rhetorical and legislative battles lie ahead for this Congress, but all the conflict and high drama is just politics. In the end, civility will prevail as it almost always does in American government.

Van Wyck’s grave in Milford Cemetery is serene, set on the edge of state game lands. He died of natural causes in 1895.

Back at the Columns, the "bloody Lincoln Flag" – a rare artifact, on which the dying president’s head rested – is displayed. Lori Strelecki, executive director of the historical society, said Van Wyck was building a home here when he died.

His assailants were never found.

He retired from Congress after two terms to serve in the Civil War as a colonel in the 56th New York Infantry, then was re-elected to his House seat after the war.

And Strelecki says he is not forgotten to all: “The re-enactment group from his New York unit always heads up to his grave for some sort of ceremony when they are in town.”

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.