There’s been a lot of writing this weekend and today about what it is that Washington stands for. I started this in the comments of Stacey’s post on the subject, and again in DCist’s commentary on the same article. Washington means many things to many people, this city’s symbolism and skyscape are an incredible and indelible image for the country. For me, DC is home and foreign, comforting and ostracizing, friendly and cold.
This city has so many incredible spots. The Key Bridge at sunset in Fall. Adams Morgan in the rain after dark, when the smell of rain seems to overcome the smell of puke. Congressional Cemetery in the fog. Mount Vernon in Spring. Ben’s Chili Bowl, and Clarendon, and Old Town and Mount Pleasant. All these great places. But Washington isn’t so small as just the District. It’s Arlington and Alexandria, Montgomery County and Prince George’s. This whole area is infused with Beltway Bandits, Military, People just trying to make their way.
Washington’s bigger than the monuments and the bars and the clubs. It’s bigger than the Archives or the Capitol, and it’s bigger than the hipster holier-than-thou attitude that seems to start at the confluence of the Anacostia and the Potomac.
People come to DC often to make a difference. They come for political reasons, they come for personal reasons, just like every other city. Instead of stock brokers, we have power brokers. Some of us don’t come for any of those reasons, but there’s no reason to denigrate those who come to seek service of their country or to provide it leadership. While my degree is in politics, I never came here to partake in that scene. It doesn’t mean I haven’t met people who have, made friends, made acquaintances. Don’t treat those people as anything less than your neighbor, or you do this town disservice.
DC is where the government and the people collide. It’s where you can go out for pizza and see a Senator, run into a CIA operative at Starbucks, and even see an FBI agent hangin’ out with a bus driver. This town is a confluence of many things, and we would do well that we all have our own reasons for being here, our own love of this town. It’s bigger than one neighborhood, one bar, one square mile. It’s bigger than you think, this place.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs