tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-21429470068075777102016-05-20T15:52:11.090-04:00Passion for the PossibleIdeas for those determined to make the world a better placeTracy Moaverohttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08280055712515863977noreply@blogger.comBlogger2125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2142947006807577710.post-77372545506688035482010-05-08T00:53:00.015-04:002010-05-08T01:21:50.073-04:00Overlooked, Thought-Provoking Sights in Washington, DCLast month, as I wrapped up nine years in Washington, DC, I took a break from packing to walk the city one last time. Enjoying springtime on the Mall, I thought about Washington sights that too few people visit, places that cut through the noise of a self-important city to the heart of our democracy. <br /><br /><b>Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial</b> <br /><br /><i>"More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars." </i><br /><br />That is one of nearly two dozen quotes by President Roosevelt inscribed in the memorial dedicated to him. Much to my initial surprise, it isn't a statue, but a series of naturalistic outdoor rooms along the Tidal Basin created from stone, water and trees. The quotations, inscribed in the stone, take visitors through the Depression and the New Deal, World War II and the leadership the president provided through those difficult years. <br /><br /><i>"The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world."</i><br /><br />I first visited the memorial while the US was newly at war in Afghanistan and gearing up for war in Iraq. Roosevelt's words were a welcome contrast to "let's get 'em!" and "you're either with us or against us" messages coming from the Bush White House and the Hill. I kept thinking that much of what Roosevelt said would be criticized as unpatriotic or "socialist" today. Every member of Congress and any administration should visit this memorial. <br /><br />Also still relevant is the work of Eleanor Roosevelt, who has a section at the end of the memorial. Her <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2013/02/nonprofit-experts-fickle-fashionistas.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1265000400000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1359694800000">"My Day"</a> column, which my grandmother says she never missed, is well worth reading. From human rights to nuclear disarmament, her words still ring true.<br /><br /><b>Sewall-Belmont House and Museum</b><br /><br />This <a href=" http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2011_03_01_archive.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=close&toggle=MONTHLY-1298955600000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1298955600000">museum</a>, found right behind the Hart Senate office building, houses the historic National Woman's Party and was the Washington home of founder and Equal Rights Amendment author Alice Paul from 1929 until 1972. <br /><br />The house has many interesting items, such as banners and photographs, but two moved me the most. One was an original jailhouse door pin, one of the pins given to suffragettes who were imprisoned for protesting in front of the White House. While in prison, they went on hunger strikes and were force fed. They endured terrible treatment. I think of them every time I vote, and I feel immense gratitude.<br /><br />The other was the desk at which Alice Paul wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923. <i>Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.</i> This simple but powerful idea was shaking the country in the 1970s when I was a young girl. Talk, both positive and negative, about "women's libbers" and the ERA was everywhere. While that fight was in full swing, Alice Paul and other suffragettes were still living in the house, getting to see where their work had taken the nation. <br /><br />The museum staff and volunteers are happy to give tours, which I found aren't lectures but conversations. There's also a <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2009/11/open-letter-to-young-activists.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=close&toggle=YEARLY-1230786000000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1257048000000">shop</a> that takes online orders. I happily picked up a coffee mug for my grandmother, who was born a year and a half before women could vote, and who has never taken that right for granted. My next purchase will be a replica of the jailhouse door pin.<br /><br /><b>A few more for the future . . . </b><br /><br />I never got to a few places despite having them on my "to do" list for ages. One was the <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2011/02/is-us-to-blame-for-africas-woes.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1362114000000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1296536400000">Frederick Douglass House</a>, which is a museum run by the National Park Service, and the other is the <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2010/05/4-things-i-learned-about-fundraising.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1275364800000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1272686400000">African American Civil War Museum</a>, which is next to the memorial along historic U St. I may have missed getting to the sites, but I will read up on each. <br /><br />What are you favorite historic places in the nation's capital? How do they connect you to our past?Tracy Moaverohttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08280055712515863977noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2142947006807577710.post-86579610020027626942010-03-16T22:43:00.008-04:002010-05-08T01:20:59.352-04:0028 Random Observations After Nine Years of Working in Washington, DC1. You can tell a lot about the district or state of a Member of Congress by the artwork, photos, awards and knicknacks in their office. Lots of military stuff? They probably have a military base in their district and sit on related committees. Bowling pins and an autographed photo of Frankie Yankovic, the polka king? Dennis Kucinich from my blue collar, Eastern European immigrant home district.<br />2. Sames goes for freebies on front desk. Free peanuts? Georgia. Saltwater taffy? New England coastal district. I tried without success to get free wine in Lynn Woolsey's office. She represents California wine country.<br />3. Fax machines in Washington endlessly spew invitations to congressional campaign fundraisers. For $500 you can have breakfast with one candidate, join a downhome BBQ with another or try some luau themed mini golf with yet another. My personal favorite? A Republican dove hunting weekend in Texas. <br />4. Many House aides are really young and inexperienced, and they can be obnoxiously cocky. Their huge workload includes covering a bizarre mix of committees that they initially know nothing about, yet they can do a worrying amount of meddling in important bills. Senate aides, on the other hand, are usually much more experienced and have a much higher level of expertise. <br />5. Congressional offices vary tremendously in terms of how they're run. Some seem orderly from the minute you walk in the door. Others make you wonder who's in charge.<br />6. No one actually understands the Senate's rules of procedure.<br />7. Working in Washington means going to receptions where people read each others nametags to see who's worth talking to. For the same reason, one of the first things people ask in social situations is “where do you work?”<br />8. It's hard to plan events - even late ones - with members of Congress as special guests when votes are going on. They may come late or not at all. When they do, they can switch on and give a great speech and then work the crowd before running back to vote. (Another reason why Sarah Palin writing notes on her hand was ridiculous. She failed Politician 101 with that move.)<br />9. Because the House has 435 members, you can find a member who agrees with your political viewpoint, no matter how wacky it is.<br />10. It's no fun getting balled out by a member of Congress or their staff for something someone in your organization did (e.g. chapter had a protest in their local office), especially if you didn't know about it. It's just plain annoying when you're getting an earful for a mistake made by a member of the congressional staff, and the staffperson is trying to blame it on you. <br />10. Hill interns can often be spotted talking loudly on the Metro or in bars about their jobs, ones that they believe are going to impress you.<br />11. You can tell when a Washington formal event has Hollywood types attending since the clothes are stylish instead of dowdy. <br />12. Military bands seem to give concerts all the time. All over town. Especially if you don't care for this style of music. <br />13. You can rent out the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for private events. Events are a big part of the local economy, so if you can think of a space, there's a good chance it has seen a ball or awards dinner.<br />14. Event planners often cater to Republicans or Democrats, depending on the connections of the principals. Each administration has an associated event style. The Clinton era was Hollywood and splashy. Bush Senior administration was low key. Reagan era had a lot of formal events. <br />15. There's an association for everything, including <a href="http://www.passionforthepossible.org/2009/10/when-our-supporters-surprise-us-what-we.html?widgetType=BlogArchive&widgetId=BlogArchive2&action=toggle&dir=open&toggle=MONTHLY-1257048000000&toggleopen=MONTHLY-1254369600000">associations</a>. Some favorites, just based on names? <br />American Meat Institute<br />National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association<br />American Industrial Hygiene Association<br />Steel Tank Institute <br />Pet Food Institute <br />Epsom Salt Industry Council <br />American Gas Association (Yes, I'm 12.)<br />Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (fun!)<br />To be fair, they have legitimate business, and some of the above do important work on health and safety issues, but still, I have passed many DC office doors and laughed out loud. Especially at the Leather Institute. <br />16. Washington is loaded with 20 somethings who spend countless hours networking at happy hours. The bars they go to often lean Dem or Repub.<br />17. The resumes of these ambitious young professionals, even the ones just out of college, are often amazing. They'll have packed more into their resume by age 23 than a lot of people do by 30 or 35.<br />18. Most DC professionals have at least a Master's or a law degree, often two of them. A mere Bachelors is an anomaly. <br />19. DC offices are loaded with TVs that run CNN, C-SPAN, etc., all day, even in lobbies. Only some of these TVs are actually watched. <br />20. DC has C-SPAN radio, which makes sense given the uncompelling visuals of the typical TV broadcast. <br />21. Spring = hordes of tourists for cherry blossom season, and the traffic makes those tourists very angry. So pretty flowers = much horn honking. Spring also means the city is invaded by hordes of 8th graders on field trips, sometimes in groups of 200 or more.<br />22. Nothing makes locals more cranky than tourists on Metro escalators who don't understand the unofficial stand to the right, walk on the left rule. Yet strangely few Washingtonians will ask people to move to the right. They just stand there and fume. <br />23. Pentagon contractors advertise on television and in the Metro. So a McDonald's ad can be followed by one for a missile system.<br />24. Mail to federal offices is still irradiated to kill biological agents like anthrax, and some of it shows up partially disintegrated and crumbly. <br />25. Washington revolves around the congressional schedule. August recess means the city feels half empty. Even people who don't do political work often follow the schedule, such as when Congress runs late in the holiday season, because it affects the number of customers in taxis, restaurants and stores. <br />26. There are more police departments in DC than I can even remember most days, so getting permits for marches or rallies means knowing which one you need to go to. You might be dealing with the DC police, National Park Service (you'd be surprised what's NPS land) or the Capitol Hill police, though I lost track once Homeland Security changed some of the federal departments. I've seen squad cars for about a dozen departments or agencies, plus some bomb squad trucks that had a strangely disco-y look to them.<br />27. The city's restaurants change depending on who's in the White House. Republicans mean more steak houses. Democrats mean more eclectic restaurants. <br />28. No matter how crazy or frustrating Washington, DC is, you can't say people don't work hard.Tracy Moaverohttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08280055712515863977noreply@blogger.com2