Friday, April 22, 2011

The land of Oz

I love Washington D.C.

I should probably back up and clarify that statement.

I love the city of Washington D.C.

Always have.

I love the history. I love the museums. I love the memorials and monuments. And I’m not sure a better people-watching destination exists.

But the things that happen in D.C.?  Not so much.

I traveled to the capitol last week. I was invited to attend a forum on federalism hosted by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). I arrived early in the morning and had half a day to kill, so I walked over to the Jefferson Memorial. It was extra cool because it happened to be Jefferson’s birthday. After that, I spent a couple of hours wandering through the Museum of American History and eventually made my way up to Capitol Hill.

I’ve traveled to D.C. numerous times, but this time, something struck me that I’d never really considered.

The entire city is designed to inspire awe.

Stone and marble dominate the landscape. Columns tower high over your head. Flags fly over every building. The Washington Monument reaches up, as if trying to touch the heavens. The Capitol dome dominates the skyline, perched up on the Hill.

D.C. stands as a physical manifestation of hyperbole.

Then there are the flocks of self-important people, constantly scurrying hither and tither. Traffic rushes past in a blur. Stony faced security guards armed with automatic weapons dot the landscape.

D.C. hums with power.

And I think that is how most people view D.C.- not only in a physical sense, but in what it represents as the U.S. Capitol.

Americans view it as the seat of power. The final authority. A sort of secular Mecca.

Doubt me? Watch how most American’s react to the notion of “federal charges.” State charges? Sure, that’s bad. But when you start talking federal charges, then you’re REALLY in trouble.

But for all of its grandeur, its impressive buildings and bustling activity, D.C. possesses only the power we the people gave it.

And when you read the Constitution – it ain’t all that.

D.C. is a great place to visit. But it will never solve America’s problems. It can’t provide what you need. And it’s not going make my (or your) life significantly better.

It’s time to pull back the curtain and see D.C. for what it really is. A little man pulling lots of levers, but limited by the power of the people through the Constitution.

If only we exercise that power.

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