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With my best friend riding shotgun and my two dogs in the back seat of my Buick Encore, I made the road trip from Washington, D.C., to Chicago last month for the ordination and consecration of Paula E. Clark, the first female bishop, and first Black bishop, of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. She’s also my mom.

Even though special master Ken Feinberg, who was in charge of the first federal Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, distributed $6 billion to the estates of those killed on 9/11 — an average of more than $2 million to the nearly 3,000 victims — the House of Representatives passed its new Fairness for 9/11 Families Act to allow additional claims for the deaths inflicted by the terrorists and set aside $2.7 billion for them.

A small but vocal contingent of the New York City's political class characterizes those of us who are alarmed by increasing crime — and want more proactive policing, more effective prosecution and further refinement of state laws to ensure that lawbreakers face swift, sure consequences — as nothing but reactionaries. The city remains historically safe, they say, so the order of the day should be more criminal justice reform.

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As the midterm elections come ever closer, it can feel as if we’re stewing in a cauldron of tribalism, of our side vs. their side with no middle ground and little agreement on much of anything. That makes it a good time to take a breath and realize the consensus we’ve reached on some issues that were incredibly contentious not long ago. It gives us hope in the angry days ahead.

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