One’s the building, with all the trappings of government: politicians, lobbyists, fundraisers, campaigners, PACs, Super PACs, Super de Duper PACs, officials, administrators, agencies, etc.
One is the city, with all the trappings of urbanity: monuments, federal buildings, sure, but also neighborhood bars, victorian homes, housing projects, small businesses, grocery stores, and hundreds of thousands of people.
This weekend, one journalist forgot the difference, and in a fit of pique (and a glass or two of wine) blamed the Capital city for the sins of the Capitol. Jeff Jarvis is a journalism professor at NYU, and late Friday tweeted his ire. It spawned a hashtag, #fuckyouwashington, that resonated with many, and for most of the weekend it remained amid the trending topics on the social network.
It’s understandable to be frustrated at the government deadlock over the debt ceiling. We’re just a week or so away from defaulting as a country, which would likely throw the stuttering recall into a freefall. The game of political chicken that’s currently underway has every chance to be one with fallout and casualties across the country. It’s right to be upset with.
But here’s the thing: Don’t blame the city, when the people fighting this out are from all over. They’re the least Washington of all of us, in many cases eschewing community participation in exchange for sleeping in their offices and staying away from the rest of this wonderful city.
I know what Jarvis said. I know what he meant. He meant to blame the Capitol, but what he did instead was blame the Capital.
Yes, I know that for many outside the ten miles square, Washington is synonymous with the Capitol, with the governance process for good or ill. It’s a lazy shorthand, and the city deserves better.
When you consider that the people that Jarvis is angry with are sent here by every state in the Union except our own district. We have no meaningful representation in the Capitol, we have no control over what they do, so you can’t blame the Capital for the sins of the Capitol, Jeff Jarvis. I think we all stand with Heather Goss, who said this weekend, “Whoever started #fuckyouwashington instead of #fuckyoucongress can, you know, go #fuckthemselves, too, eh?”
Right on, Heather. Right on.