To the Tea Party tourists visiting this weekend:
We’d like to welcome you to the nation’s capital.
Please note that despite some serious misunderstanding and outrageous assumptions made beyond the Beltway, DC really is a safe city to visit. We do recommend, however, that you just avoid Baltimore completely. Think of it as our certifiably insane sibling to the north, with delusions of class. (And yes, I am kidding. We DCites do have a sense of humor, especially at Baltimore’s expense. And Philadelphia’s.)
Despite some ramblings of various cantankerous individuals, the District does have a lot to offer you on your visit. We bust a lot of myths about our fair city here on this site; please take a moment to see if we’ve answered any of the ones you’ve heard. We also showcase a lot of amazing arts, theater, restaurants, individuals, and other great things about the DC area here; I invite you to check out what else lies beyond the Mall and maybe sample some of our wares.
Does DC have issues? Yes – but then again, so does every other city around the globe. However, many cannot claim to be the most photogenic, or the most picturesque, or one of the best caretakers of a national heritage. Washington, DC can make a very strong claim for any of these titles. You’d agree, if you took the chance to explore what we have to offer, and not avoid sections of our fair area on the advice of those who don’t live here or seem to care about DC.
I know we’ve gotten a bad rap in decades past, but we’re over it. We’re a multicultural melting pot, a crossroads of ethnicities, creeds, religions, ideologies, philosophies, and politics. Sure, we may vote a certain way on some issues, we may stand on the right and walk on the left on our escalators, and we do have our share of shameful public figures – but again, so does every city and every town in this great country. We are not an island unto ourselves, but more a cross-sectional look at what is America.
It saddens many of us locals that we’re painted so broadly with the political brush. It’s a stereotype we can all do without, but is perpetuated by those who refuse to really look and experience the fullness of the District. We are who we are and if you’d stop to ask us, you’d find that out. We love our city passionately, much as you may love a sports team, or your alma mater, or your own neck of the woods. And as much as your hackles are raised when someone disparages your own, so much more us. We feel we must constantly defend ourselves, even though we don’t have representative rights. And that constant vigilance against those who besmirch our character makes us cranky, irritable, and flippant. Is it right? Probably not. But then, is it right for others to so blatantly blanket us with bad stereotypes and third-hand outdated references and comparisons?
We’re the epicenter of the United States. It comes with being the capital, and we know that. We accept it. We thrive in it. Our city’s culture remains as diverse as our people; something that you will find evident when you arrive, no matter what Metro line you ride.
So please understand – we do want you here. We want you to shop our shops, eat our food, enjoy our venues. We want you to experience DC for what we are, so when you return home, you arrive with a greater capacity to understand, enjoy, and celebrate the District for what it is, not what it’s rumored to be. This is, after all, your capital, too. What we don’t want, however, is rudeness, intolerance, and self-righteousness, so we ask that you simply leave those at home with the bottles of shampoo and the nail clippers. Come with open eyes, and we’ll embrace you with open arms. Come with blinders on, and prepare to face our stubborn cantankerousness, for it is mighty.
If you can’t do that…well, it’s your loss, not ours. We’ll keep taking care of the place for you, until you finally decide to truly come home to Washington, DC.