Vegas and DC: What’s Reality?

By Rich Harwood

On Monday night, the pregame show before the first Stanley Cup playoff game between the home-team Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals began with lots of smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

The pregame was typical Vegas: dramatic and loud. It had allusions to Game of Thrones—where the goal is to conquer one’s opponents—and a theatrical sword duel that took place mid-ice where a Golden Knight slayed a Caps warrior.

The only problem is that I couldn’t tell if this was a pregame show in Vegas or the real-thing in our nation’s capital.

I love Vegas. Over the past 20 years or so, I’ve worked with a host of partners there.  The community has innovated in areas such as homelessness and children’s issues. I’ve learned that Vegas residents hold a deep affection for their hometown.

The nation witnessed Vegas’s true compassion, grit and determination in its response to the October 1, 2017 mass shooting, which took the lives of 58 people and injured 851.

If Vegas is called the “entertainment capital” of the world, then why did the ingenious pregame show remind me so much of the silliness of our nation’s capital? Why did the Golden Knight and Caps warrior look like typical Republicans and Democrats going at it in the well of the House of Representatives or on cable news? Why did all the smoke and mirrors seem a nifty trick in Vegas, and yet all the smoke and mirrors in DC serves as a sorry excuse for governing?

One of the most interesting twists in the Vegas/DC comparison is that Vegas has evolved into a better functioning community over the 20 years that I have been intimately familiar with it, while the politics in our nation’s capital has devolved into a dysfunctional mess.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? I can only hope that’s not always the case.

Ultimately, the hockey game that took place was a beautiful sight to behold—hard fought, lots of give and smart strategy. Maybe it is time that our nation’s leaders in Washington, DC realize that the pregame show was nothing more than just a pregame-show. It’s time to stop the smoke and mirrors and get their job done.  

When will the real governing begin in DC?