If you're one of the unfortunate Americans that live in fly-over country, I have bad news for you. Our nation's capital is now pretty much off-limits to you.
Last week I had business in Washington, D.C. and planned a few extra days to re-acquaint myself with our nation's history. It turned out to be the week from hell.
My first mistake was driving my SUV. The beltway encircling D.C. resembles a scene from Dante's Inferno. Fellow drivers inside the beltway were just plain rude. All of them. As a result of being unable to change lanes, I missed my exit and spent the next two hours wandering narrow streets rife with 'No Left Turn' and 'One Way' signs. I started getting a bit anxious.
I finally made it to my hotel, whereupon I found that there were no smoking rooms available, despite my specific reservation. I figured if I'm spending $300.00 for a room, plus an extra $30.00 for my car, I should be able to do what I want. Not so. Smoking in my room would incur a $300.00 fine.
I logged onto the Internet and found that there were no rooms available anywhere in D.C. Hotel rooms cost an average of $350.00 per night. Quite affordable if the government or lobbying firms foot the bill, but quite out of my league. Alas.
Having decided to shorten my stay, I ventured out the next day to get in as much sightseeing as I could. I quickly found myself wandering in a sea of bureaucrats. I was awed to be in the presence of so many important people (in DC, everyone is, or acts, important). The majority of them had furrowed brows as if the weight of the world was on their shoulders. And they were all focused intensely, on themselves. I was invisible.
D.C. is a beautiful city. Our monuments are awe-inspiring and the sense of history is overwhelming. Unfortunately, the culture in D.C. is not welcoming to regular Americans. Tourists are merely tolerated, unless they're somebody.
D.C. has been taken over by those who seek power and influence. It has a very clear social hierarchy, as do most cities. Unless you're rich, famous, powerful or an insider, you're no one. Just the poor sucker whose taxes pay for it. What sets this city apart, however, is that they make absolutely no effort to hide it. Egos have replaced good manners.
Tourists are barely tolerated and largely unacknowledged. The only smiles I received were from fellow diners as I committed the social sin of giving thanks to God for the meal I was about to receive. And those smiles were condescending sneers.
The city itself is imploding. The infrastructure is falling apart. Traffic is a nightmare, parking is non-existent and hotel accommodations are available only to those willing to spend their life savings. D.C. is no longer for the people. It’s for power players jockeying to get close to the seat of power. The power culture is toxic and infectious.
As a conservative, I seldom criticize something without offering a solution. Here's what I would suggest as a sure fire way to remake our nation's capital back into the people's capital.
Since Obama is into redistribution, I suggest we redistribute D.C. With the exception of the White House, Supreme Court and Congress, how about we take all the government agencies and parcel them out to the states. Hey, South Carolina would get a much needed shot in the economic arm if say, the CBO and the FDA moved here from D.C.
Other agencies like the FDA, the IRS, the CIA, etc. would immediately achieve tremendous cost savings by relocating their headquarters to fly-over country. Thus freeing up buildings that could be used to house people like myself who want to visit D.C. Call it affirmative action for tourists.
The benefits of redistributing D.C. to the states are enormous. The immediate results of this plan would mean thousands of government bureaucrats, instead of spending all their time jockeying to be close to the seat of power, might just be reduced to actually reading the bills they keep churning out.
Hey, the bureaucrats would even have to live under the rules they are imposing on everyone else. They would also be exposed to 'diverse' cultures (as in 'outside the beltway') with a good chance of adopting some cultural traits from their fellows. Traits like good manners, consideration for others and other multi-American traits.
Until and unless we're successful in redistributing the power in D.C., I'm going to keep renewing my travel alert against travel to D.C. to all residents of flyover country. I suggest instead that you vacation in South Carolina, where residents smile naturally and people are the way they're supposed to be. Besides that, we've got tons of parking, affordable hotels and a refreshing lack of very important people.