A Special Privilege

I work in Washington, DC, the capital of the United States of America. I have to pinch myself sometimes as I look around when I take a lunchtime walk. Is this real? Do I really work here? I should not take my good fortune that my office is in such an amazing location for granted.

I don’t work for the government, nor am I a lobbyist. There are some who believe that everyone who works in the city must be one or the other. I’m just a guy who works in a non-profit organization that is based on Capitol Hill, in the heart of what some claim to be the most powerful location in the free world.

Yesterday I was invited to attend a presentation that was held in one of the office buildings that is used by the House of Representatives. As I walked to the meeting from my office, I crossed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Despite all the rhetoric — especially these days leading up to an historic election on November 4 — I remained awed by being on the grounds of such an important, historic place. I actually was humming the National Anthem as I was walking along, watching tourists from all over the world stop and take photos, asking cops for directions, and staring at the glory. I tell ‘ya, this place is stunning.

To my right was the national mall and the Washington Monument. What a commanding view. It brought many memories of a happy childhood climbing the 897 steps inside the Monument to the top (can’t do that any more), walking into the Capitol Building itself without an appointment (can’t do that any more), and flying a kite on the mall (you can still do that.) Unfortunately, with all the security in the area, it’s not as picturesque as it once was, with all the fences, signs, cops, road blocks, and barriers.

Another memory I had was that my parents told me that they met by literally bumping into each other on the west steps of the Capitol Building. I owe my very existence to that chance encounter.

The rambling and echoing hallways of the Rayburn building, with the bronze signs indicating the locations of committee hearing rooms, continued to inspire me, a “participating” U.S. citizen. Not that I forgive them, but I can understand why legislators get drunk with power when they walk those hallways, and sit at tables on risers above the rest of the floor.

As I returned to my office, I took a different route, past the Library of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. What crossed my mind is why this upcoming election is so important — to try to change the wrong-wing decisions of the Court by having a President who will appoint justices who interpret the U.S. Constitution with more of an open mind, with fairness to everyone (including me, a gay guy who loves another man and wants our relationship to be able to be recognized in civil law as our civil right.) So yep, this election will be important for that, and for much more. But that’s the extent of where I’ll go in expressing my political opinions on this blog. There are many other blogs that blather about all that.

I truly am privileged to work in such a special city. I shouldn’t take it for granted. Few have the ability to walk out the door every day and see such important places where history continues to be made.