I have been involved in British politics for more than a decade. Suddenly, everything has changed.

One week before the United Kingdom votes whether to continue its membership in the European Union (EU), Jo Cox, a Labour member of Parliament (MP) representing a constituency in Northern England, died after being stabbed and shot in the street in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

I’ve worked in parliament, been a lobbyist, and now help evangelical Christians engage in politics. I’ve never known anything like these past few months as the UK prepares to vote in the EU referendum, popularly called “Brexit.”

The wrangling of recent weeks pales into insignificance in the wake of the death of a public servant who was doing what MPs regularly do: meeting with constituents to hear their concerns. These one-on-one meetings, which take place up and down the country in offices, town halls, and local libraries, are the front line of politics.

Political systems where a single person represents a constituency foster this sort of connection. But alongside the value, it brings incredible vulnerability.

Michael Deacon, paid to write political sketches for the Daily Telegraph, gave one of the most poignant tributes: “We aren’t ruled by a cabal of the evil, greedy, and callous. We’re served by human beings who make mistakes, and get no end of grief even when they don’t.”

Cox’s husband, Brendan, found the words—I do not know how—in the immediate aftermath to sum up her life: “Jo believed in a better world, and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.”

The campaigns to either leave or remain in the EU had reached ...

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