Bad news hits those of us on the right and left equally hard.

Senator Vincent Fort is currently occupying a doctor’s office. Fort said today that he will miss the early part of the 2012 Session of the Georgia General Assembly as he undergoes treatment for stage 2 prostate cancer. The legislature will be a different place until he returns and we send our best wishes and prayers for a successful treatment.

Several years ago I was talking with a friend who worked in the Senate; as one of the stronger, more loyal Republican I know, his admission of having been to a baseball game recently with Senator Fort. I was shocked and certain he must be kidding. Turns out my friend, staunch Republican, had found common ground with Senator Fort in a shared love of Atlanta Braves baseball and they had sat together as several games. As angry as I often get about Fort’s actions, remembering my friend’s unexpected friendship with Fort helps me remember that each of us who makes his or her way in politics has friends, family, hobby and often, a good heart.

While I almost always oppose Senator Fort’s politics and often facepalm at his media appearances, I believe that he honestly believes in what he’s doing.

Embattled former Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly, a Republican, filed for bankruptcy today, seeking protection under Chapter 11. Kenerly will also likely face trial over an indictment charging bribery and failures to disclose financial interests.

Growing up in Gwinnett, the Kenerly clan was always around the corner somewhere; in middle school, I rode the same bus as the youngest of the Kenerly brothers, my father bought parts from Kenerly’s Auto Parts, and I count Kevin’s cousin Theresa as a friend.

I once had breakfast with Kevin Kenerly and a mutual friend at a Waffle House and I remember that Kevin paid anonymously for a table that included a first responder, and tipped generously our waitress. Not showy, just nice. My friend later told me that Kevin routinely paid for the meals of police, fire and EMTs. I hope folks will treat Kevin’s family with the same generosity of spirit that I personally witnessed from him.

There are those who will find joy or at least catharsis in the troubles of political enemies. I personally have a lengthy list of (political) graves I mean one day to dance upon. But in my better moments I try to remember that most people who embark on a career of public service through the political process start their journey with some idealism and altruism. The best of us keep at least a little of that alive.

So tonight I hope you will join me in adding Vincent Fort and the Kevin Kenerly family to your prayer lists.