"To be too certain of anything is the beginning of bigotry." -- Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Weekend to Remember

     I am spending the weekend in Washington, DC. This morning I took the Metro from my hotel down to the Mall. Did you know that they charge an extra $2 to purchase a card for the Metro? It doesn't matter whether you use it and reuse it and recharge it forever, or if you just use it for one day. I guess it's a way to soak the tourists.

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center 

     I came out of the Metro at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. It made me wonder: what would Reagan think of Trump's trade policy?

     I am here to pick up our dog from my daughter, who has been dogsitting for us since last summer when B and I moved into a condo complex that prohibits pets. But now we have a house again, so we can take back our dog.

I think my parents had a car like this when I was a little kid

     I am meeting my daughter, up from North Carolina, on Sunday. I came early, so I could play tourist for the day -- and also reminisce a bit, since I spent a semester here when I was in college, and then visited several times a year when my sister lived in DC in the 1980s and '90s.

     Back when I was younger (and more idealistic?) I did a fair amount of volunteer work in politics. I was a Democrat (still am, tho' not as enthusiastic as I once was) and worked for McGovern and Carter, as well as several local candidates. I canvassed for our city mayor (he won) and for a candidate for the New York State Senate (he lost) and was even appointed to a town commission for my efforts.

Ah ... the memories!

     But that was then, and this is now. I wouldn't dream of working for a political party these days -- not because I don't think politics are important, they are, but because things have gotten so ugly and fractious. It seems politics have become a religion. You must believe in party dogma, which allows for no dissent unless it's from the most fundamentalist faction. You hate anyone who doesn't believe what you believe; you call them names, dehumanize them and ridicule their views.

     It seems that, as Yeats wrote in The Second Coming, "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold ... while the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity."

     But as you walk along the National Mall and visit the museums and see the people from all corners of the country, the political venom seems to fall away. Everybody stands in reverent memory over the events recollected in the Newseum, from the Berlin airlift to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Everybody can identify with the historical exhibits in the National Museum of American History. I learned that before Benedict Arnold turned traitor, he was a hero who along with Ethan Allen captured and defended Fort Ticonderoga, thwarting Britain's attempt to invade from Canada.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

     And, it seems, everyone is interested in the newest building on the Mall -- the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I tried to get a ticket to the museum ahead of time online; but it was sold out. When I went down there, I saw a huge line trailing down the street for the few tickets available at the door.

The Washington Monument

     So I the went to the history museum and saw the exhibits on money, transportation, military history, Japanese internment. I walked the Mall; saw the Capitol building, the Washington Monument, the White House. I wanted to see the Vietnam memorial, which I visit pretty much every time I come to Washington, but my knee gave out and so I just walked back up to Farragut Square (named after Civil War Admiral David Farragut, famous for the Battle of Mobile Bay) where I caught the Metro back to my hotel.

Farragut Square at K and 17th St.

     By the way, is anyone visiting Washington, DC, anytime soon? I have a Metro card for sale . . . just $2, which includes the cost of the card, plus a 65-cent credit for the amount I did not use this weekend.


Linda Myers said...

I get the same memories when I visit Washington, DC. I lived in northern Virginia for several years when I was a kid, and the then and now stuff comes up for me, too.

DJan said...

I agree that politics has become terrible, but your uplifting post about Washington has lifted my spirits. You made me feel so much better, just thinking about the people you describe. :-)

scott said...

Thanks for the Washington D.C. inspiration! Must get back there again! Love that place.

Just like the Metro card, here in Atlanta they do the same with Marta cards - however, they did pull a fast one recently where they started issuing new cards and the old cards will no longer be any good! And if I'm not mistaking, you need to re-purchase the new one. Can't win.

Oh yeah, just piggybacking on your Metro card business, we've got to two Bart cards with $1.00 on each... we'll give a good deal!

Anonymous said...

I have been to Washington, DC 3 times. The first time I was part of 3 busloads of students and faculty from Columbia University to protest the Vietnam War in front of the White House, where Nixon was living. The last time was in 2013, when I met 3 blog friends for lunch at my hotel. Interesting city.

Anonymous said...

Washington DC is a special place (despite the current fractious politics). I haven't been for awhile, but would like to go back... maybe in four years or so. I would love to see the new African American Museum. Maybe in a few years it might be possible to get tickets.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! Glad you had a nice visit and I appreciate the photos. Washington DC is on my "list" so one of these days I'll be visiting but I don't think I'll be any help with your metro pass. Enjoy the rest of your time there. ~Kathy

retirementreflections said...

Great post and photos, Tom.
And that 'Ice Cream Truck' did bring back wonderful memories!!

Carole said...

Thanks for sharing the photos. DC is one of my favorite places to visit. (As long as I don't have to drive!) So historic, so much to do.

Tom said...

It is ironic, isn't it, that the politics seem to fall away when you're in Washington, DC. Maybe it's because you do become aware of the history and realize that our country is more than one moment in time, and we've been thru trying times before and no doubt will again. Anyway, Carole, I hear you about the traffic -- that's why I left my car at the hotel and took the Metro in the first place!

joared said...

Your visit to D.C. sounds interesting. I'd enjoy returning there to spend a little more time.

Janette said...

Believe it or not the card is about trash. The white metro cards (daily) were everywhere. Tourists were not so good at the trash cans. Metro went to "reload able " plastic ones($5.) or you can pay for the trash of the daily cards. Metro stops are much cleaner.
I do love to go into DC. There is always something new to see or hear. My favorite is just to stand in the Jefferson Memorial and listen to the languages bounce off the rotunda.
Politics? Just don't be caught in a Trump hat. There have been a number of beatings just off the Mall.