An early-rising, hard-working city

Despite bad press and perpetual complaints, a lot of good stuff happens here.  April 2014

Despite bad press and perpetual complaints, a lot of good stuff happens here. 
And yes, a lot of money gets wasted, too.  April 2014

“For the people in government, rather than the people who pester it, Washington is an early-rising, hard-working city. It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.”P. J. O’Rourke

Say what you want about Washington DC, but in my opinion, P. J. O’ Rourke is right.  (In my opinion, P. J. is almost always right, but that’s a different topic.)  People do rise early and work hard here.  I’ve been watching them do so, or sleeping through them doing so, for four years now.  It amazes me how early my husband and my neighbors get up and out each morning.  OK, so maybe it’s primarily because of mostly unsuccessful efforts to beat the traffic, but still.

At the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest, I want to say that I honestly believe most of our politicians and their staff work pretty hard.  That’s not to say that they all are correct, wise or even honest.  But they do work hard.  For a variety of reasons too long to go into here, I’ve had occasion to be in fairly close proximity with state and federal elected officials in several different situations, and I find it tiring to experience just one day — or part of a day — of what they live through EVERY TIME they go to work.

People think of politicians as doing a lot of talking, but it seems to me that what they do most is listen, listen, listen — to each other, to their constituents, to the press, to other governmental officials, to lobbyists, and to everyday people who speak to them, formally and informally, on various issues of concern.

Whether you are happy or unhappy with your local state senator and/or U. S. Congressman, I have a suggestion that might be eye-opening: get to know them.  Ask for their assistance if there’s an ongoing issue you’ve been unable to resolve.  Request a meeting with them. Let them know how you feel about what is going on, and how you wish they would vote. You might be surprised how available they are to you, how patiently they will listen, how sincerely they will make an effort to help.

For the most part, I have been impressed with those I have contacted (except for one particular U. S. Senator named Barb who will go unnamed here, but even then, her fellow U. S. Senator was as responsive as she was useless, under extremely difficult post-9/11 circumstances).  Several times I’ve had individual situations that might never have been solved without the direct intervention of a Congressman, and I’ve had help from both parties, both sides of the aisle.  That’s the truth.

When I first started approaching my elected officials for help, I didn’t know anyone in government, had no special connections, no influence, nothing at all that got me any privileges.  All I did was ask, and sometimes, keep asking.  Try it! You never know what might come of it.  I can speak from experience on that one!

 One year ago today:

The promise of the city

 

12 Comments

  1. Susan

    Good for you! That’s quite true, I believe. Regarding politics, it may be that we all lack only the power that we decline to claim for ourselves.
    Also I appreciated your method of protecting the reputation of the “unnamed” Senator! 😉

    • Thank you Susan! I agree that the answer to being discontent with politics is to be more involved. When I hear people who complain continually about things that are happening, I advise them to try getting involved by volunteering with a candidate or official one supports. Even if we don’t choose to remain active, it’s a good experience to learn how much effort it takes to keep things running. Things always look a bit different from that angle. I appreciate yor comments!

  2. Great picture!

    • Thank you Barb! It was a beautiful day in DC that day – I just wish I had been able to capture those gorgeous flowering trees on the roads that ran nearby.

  3. Sheila

    Julia, such a lovely photo of a truly beautiful city. I feel as though Washington DC is different from any other city in this great nation. It’s the history, the opportunity, the future and really the heartbeat of every American. It’s the memory of so many and the honor of what’s to be. God bless America! 🙂

    • Thank you Sheila. I think almost all citizens of the US must feel some degree of pride when they see some of the attractive buildings and monuments of DC. It’s so different from other cities because of its layout, and the fact that no tall buildings are allowed. Frequently the paper will have discussions of this or that effort to get past those regulations, but for now, the Washington Monument and Capitol sit very prominently over everything, and the view along the mall (when it’s not under some sort of construction or renovation) makes a wonderful stroll if it’s not too hot or cold. You’ll have to come see us sometime and we’ll enjoy it together!

  4. raynard

    Julia I did at the last election shake hands with someone who was running for office and is now one of our senators in our state. today is a just stay home and relax day. my wife has”her own honeydo list. Hope you and your family are enjoying this weekend so far. I use to have this saying when I was younger and living in NJ. Never trust any man running for political office with ‘perfect teeth” lol be blessed

    • Raynard, there are a few politicians who were/are dentists – maybe they will get a pass on that rule? 😀 We have had a wonderfully cool weekend here in York. Jeff and I worked outside in our “lower 40” (our humorous nickname for the wooded part of our lot) for several hours yesterday, trimming trees and generally enjoying the shade, cool breezes and birds singing. That makes for a great holiday in my book! I think you made a good choice to stay home and take it easy.

  5. We are from a large country (India) where corruption is so deep rooted that we have almost completely lost hope in our politicians. Now we are looking upon the new gov – hope the new prime minister will be as good as his word.
    What a marvelous picture! Loved the last part of that quote.

    • Bindu, it can be so discouraging to read of all the corruption that goes along with power, seemingly everywhere we look. I hope your new leaders will not disappoint you. It’s truly hard to please everyone, but some are able to do much better at it than others. Glad you liked the quote – it brought a smile to my face!

  6. Right now, I am a little disappointed with some of our elected officials in Washington and my home state of Florida. There’s a lot I would like to ask, but convinced it will make no difference. Oh well, it is what it is. But, it is good to know that you have received help.

    • I don’t blame you for feeling disappointed. There are so many issues and problems, and it’s so easy to feel as if nothing is ever happening to change things. Sometime (perhaps close to election time 🙂 ) you might try calling your local congressional office for help with a federal issue, or a state senator for help with a local issue. It will depend on how helpful the staff member who answers the phone might be, but you might get someone who really cares and will at least try to help. But at the very least you can let them know how you feel. Although democracy is a highly inefficient system of government, I am thankful that we can at least speak out and let our opinions be known. At least then we know we have tried. As my friend Ashleigh Brilliant says, “If enough people knock their heads against a brick wall, the brick wall will fall down.” 😀

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