Normal people live here, too.

The palette of the Apotheosis of Washington
Originally uploaded by karthikkito

One of my least-favorite memes in national politics is this idea of Washington as haven for out-of-touch, effete big-city types who need some newcomer, usually the convenient choice of the underdog political candidate whatever their political party, to come give them what-for.
Len Downie stuck up for DC a few days ago, and’s Anne Applebaum debunks this scurrilous accusation by pointing out what should be obvious- Congress and the President, by definition, are “outsiders.” The only person in Congress actually FROM Washington is DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and she doesn’t even get a vote.

I object when DC gets smeared by politicians too lazy to make a real argument (or who assume the American voter is too stupid to understand one) and instead try to score points by impugning the reality-awareness of an entire major city. I further reject the larger idea that people who choose to make their homes in urban centers are inherently less valuable to the country than people who choose to make their homes in rural areas and small towns, but that’s a rant for another day, and another blog.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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5 thoughts on “Normal people live here, too.

  1. I’ve *never* thought that those references to “Washington” were made with respect to the residents… I always read them to refer to the federally governing crowd, their culture, salaries, perks, influence, sycophants, etc…
    which is to say that they’re not referring to you, me or the vast majority of the DC folk… to read them referring to the run-of-the-mill resident would appear to be a misunderstanding…
    (not to say that there aren’t other divides out there… city/rural, northeast/midwest/south/west, etc… but I don’t think that those inform these critiques…)

  2. I think Tiff’s point, um…, is that the people that are referred to when people refer to Washington are probably the least deserving of the moniker, which is perhaps most frustration to those of us who live here.

  3. The federally governing crowd (and its associated orbits) isn’t the run-of-the-mill DC folk? Um, aside from those elected officials who are, by definition, sent here from elsewhere… the primary industry of DC IS the federal government, and those jobs have to get done by somebody who has to live close enough to get into the office every day. The paper-pushers at the IRS, the people who clean the bathrooms at OPM, the lawyers at DOJ, the web team at NIH… those are all people around here, people just like you and me, who have bills to pay and kids to raise and retirements to save for. And this is to say nothing of the associations and lobbying organizations and PR firms that have offices here specifically because this is the seat of federal government.

    And while we work in government or in companies that depend on the government for their business, we are all quite aware of reality, thank you very much, and do not need the folksy, homespun wisdom of any particular political candidate to remind us of what we can see in front of us every day.

  4. OK… to be clear, I don’t think that when folks talk about what “washington” does, that they’re referring to the paper-pushers, the janitors, the web teams or the majority of the lawyers…

    I think they’re talking about the people at the top: senators, representatives, cabinet level executive branch folks… maybe some people slightly below these guys, real high-powered lobbyists, former public officials, senior partners at large law firms… I can imagine that the world these folks live in is markedly different from mine (and I say that as one of the folks who you might include amongst the federally governing crowd, but whom I wouldn’t)…

    and as far as where people come from goes: I think that’s irrelevant… it’s not hard to fathom that the people involved might be influenced by the culture of the town… think “what happens in vegas stays in vegas”…