Last weekend my family and I went to Washington, D.C., for a quick visit. It had been over ten years since I'd been there, and I really looked forward to the visit, particularly because we were staying in the heart of the city, blocks from the White House, Capitol, FBI Headquarters, the National Mall, Treasury, the Newseum, and Justice. We visited the Botanical Gardens, Building Museum, Portrait Gallery, and Police Officer's Memorial.
I had visited D.C. a few times in the past. The first time was in the eighth grade, on a class trip. We visited the monuments, museums, and Mt. Vernon. The next time was as a college student. I worked for the Student Government and a small delegation went on a lobbying trip with the United States Student Association. It was fun, but we were busy, and there was little time for taking in the sights. My last visit, until this weekend, included tour the Hoover Building, and a $100 parking ticket.
Each time I was in Washington, from my visit as an eight grader to my most recent trip as a husband, father, police officer, political junkie, and blogger, I am amazed by the aura of power and influence. Decisions made in that city influence the entire world. They save lives and take lives, protect and destroy, provide and take away. It is larger than life.
During my visits to Washington, I experienced the sights, smells, and noises of the city. We ate at the restaurants, walked the streets, visited the buildings in one of the most powerful cities in the world.
It was a humbling experience.
I am the same husband, father, political junkie and blogger that I was before I visited Washington as I am now. Those who live and work there, who were elected or appointed to serve the people of the United States, and in many ways the world, are the same as you or me. We share the same sights, smells, and noises; stay in the same buildings; eat at the same restaurants. While their work is important and their decisions effect millions, they are no better or worse than me or you.
I wish more of them would remember that.