Yesterday, I came up out of the Washington D.C. METRO to a beautiful spring day in May. It was at this moment and many others like it I realized I will truly miss this beautiful city. Living in Washington, D.C. has been an exceptional experience. Yet, people living here can be so transactional, transient but more to the point – status driven. It is the U.S. Capitol, and the Capital to the world. What other city attracts millions of international tourists to come and stand on the National Mall to have their picture taken in the shadow of the of the U.S. Capitol Building?
Too often when introduced to someone, their first question is, “what do you do?” D.C. is a city of status. What you do and who you know matters.
Servers in Washington D.C. have Bachelor’s or even Masters in Foreign Affairs or International Relations. In Los Angeles, young attractive servers are aspiring screen writers and actors. Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles are company towns – government and entertainment, respectively.
So as I depart this city I love, I think of the missed opportunities. I didn’t take enough advantage of the museums and cultural events. I spent too much time working and not enough time living.
I use to be someone, a person with a title of Director, a political person, a lobbyist — or more accurately an advocate. Lobbyist make money representing companies. I advocated for the rest of us, the worker, the little gal. More often than not the lost cause. I was a Director of Legislation of a BIG union with a ‘BIG’ pot of political money – known as a PAC or Political Action Committee. Walking with colleagues in the Halls of Congress, my friends were impressed that Members of Congress knew my name. Especially colleagues who did not have a “BIG” PAC. I would explain it isn’t my name — it is the invisible diamond tiara on my head with a BIG dollar sign the Member of Congress recognized. Because it is all about the money. Congress is awash in money. Seeing it up close made me sick at heart. I didn’t want to play the game anymore and sadly I lost my passion and idealism.
I stayed at Ritz Carlton hotels, played golf on Pebble Beach and Kiawah Island, went to Nantucket and enjoyed a beach candle light dinner with Senate Democrats in Naples, FL. Yikes! It made me want to vomit. If we were Democrats, I could only imagine where the Republicans might be flaunting their wealth and excess. Trump properties?
It really isn’t the politicians’ fault. They are trapped in a system of cash, and spend more time ‘dialing for dollars’ and attending fundraisers, then doing the work they were elected to do. My first years in Washington D.C., it was breakfast, lunch and dinner going to eat bad food and hang around with other lobbyist. Sure at first it was interesting and impressive, but after months of it and years, it was revolting. As the years rolled on, and the same events came around each year, it got to be monotonous. I wanted out, so I have jumped with both feet.
However, on a beautiful day like today arising out of the METRO, I know I will miss Washington, D.C. a beautiful city full of beautiful young ambitious people, and men wearing ties, and women in power suits. They are all too important for me, I want to wear comfortable clothes and not be a news junkie.
I use to think I could make a difference, but I don’t believe that anymore. So make way for someone I once was, passionate, idealistic and committed. All the best to you. Go for it!
I wish you the very best of luck. Truly.