May 18, 2010
If you're one of the unfortunate Americans that live in fly-over country, I have
bad news for you. Our nation's capitol 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. Its
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 capitol back into
the people's capitol.
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.
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for conservative
She lives in South Carolina
Article may be reprinted with above attribution