Monday, September 19, 2011

A Capital Sight

I moved to Washington straight out of college and spent my first five years here, both living and working on Capitol Hill.  The thrill of working as a congressional staffer wore thin after awhile, the crazy hours, the ridiculous pace, the never ending stream of mail from irate constituents, the struggle to keep up with intricacies of amendments to legislation I couldn't begin to master but which required quick judgments on whether I should tell my boss to vote yes or no.  But one thing always made my heart stop:  the sight of the U.S. Capitol, particularly at night.when its lit dome seemed to glow against the sky, both weighty and somehow graceful, awesome in its symbolism as a beacon of democracy.

The majesty of the Capitol and the monuments still thrill me, particularly when I can share the sight with visitors from out of town.  And while the grass on the Mall can look a bit ratty, perhaps not sufficiently dressed to suit the Capitol's grandeur, the nice thing is that they actually let you sit on that grass. It's the people's grass after all and you can bring a picnic or your frisbee and no one will chase you away.

If you're feeling fed up with the gridlock that's marked congressional politics of late, I understand.  Thankfully, somehow the squabbling within never diminishes the grandeur of the building itself. 


  1. I spent almost 20 years as a Hill rat, & grew, like you (albeit more slowly), to realize that it's not a job you want to spend your entire adult life doing. And I would not, under any circumstances, want to work there in the current poisonous environment.

  2. Thanks for mentioning that the grass on the Mall is "the people's grass". I've always liked that American citizens have a place where we can gather.