Slamming DC. Itmay be the singular most popular political game around today. Everybody doesit. Even incumbents go out of their way to blame Washington for everythingthat’s wrong with the country. A lot like a baseball manager complaining thathis team suffers from a crippling lack of quality coaching.
You’ve heard allthe buzz phrases: “Washington is not the answer, it is the problem.” “The devilmade both Washington and hell, but chooses to live in hell.” “Washington is acesspool.” Sure, that’s what they say, but once elected, they treat it like ahot tub.
Hard to tellwhat disturbs the critics most: the culture, the people or the traffic on theBeltway. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. The residents of our nation’s capitalare absolutely normal. Okay, absolutely semi- normal. Or as normal as can be,considering the 202 area code is hive mind to some of the largest egos in theworld. At least now we know what happens when the inmates take over the asylum.And the most venally ambitious of the criminally insane manage to scramble tothe top.
Nobody couldever mistake DC for the real world. It’s an encapsulated bubble. A yuppieterrarium. The Florence of Malfeasance. Meta Wonk Central. A work free drugzone. The largest Superfund site in America. Where double sided red tapeoriginated and they throw it around like its going out of style.
Don’t forgetthough, Washington is unique. The capitals of other nations are also media andentertainment centers. The only reason to venture into DC is business. It’s acompany town solely designed to support the federal government. A whale of acity, with schools of subsidiary occupation pilot fish swimming and feedingalongside. And the lobbyists and campaign managers, barnacles sticking to theside, regularly messing with the air intake valves.
It is alsohappens to be the single worst place on the planet to have a conversation,because all anyone wants to talk about is themselves. And don’t ask fordirections. Nobody has a clue about anything, yet fervently believe theypossess all the answers. And some folks will go miles out of their way toconfuse you, just to keep their muscles toned.
JFK said DCcombined all the hospitality of the north with the efficiency of the south. Notto mention the scruples of a turkey vulture overlooking a yard full of woundedbunnies. It’s a town where you always have to worry that your best friend iswearing a wire. Where “cynical” has been raised to an art form. Imagine theKardashians as elderly white guys with double the sense of entitlement.
Washington is the Delta of Denial. Routinely demonstrated by politicians who never understandwhy the rest of the country holds them in such low esteem. Even though theyspend millions of dollars on ads every election cycle to convince us whatdespicable crooks their opponents are, and it goes both ways. They remainblithely oblivious that the only time we trust them is when they tell us theother guy is lying.
And like TheHotel California, once you check in, you can never leave. Because afterspending a couple of quickly aging years in DC, you’re ruint, and can never goback to living with normal people. But hey, a person has to sleep somewhere,right? Even lobbyists. Besides, most of them can’t go home again because therocks they used to live under are gone. Hey, the Smithsonian is nice.
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|Allen L. Jasson|