An American Girl in Washington

Traitorous traitors and the traitors who publish them

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 28 November 2010

As a blogger, tweeter, and ever more  reluctant Facebooker, it would be hypocritical of me to deride social media.  I love it.  I love the connectivity, the ability to see at an instant what people around the country and the world are thinking about the issues, the narcissistic hope that perhaps someone cares what I think, and anything with William Shatner.  But there are a lot of obvious problems with our newfound instant access to fame, fortune, and notoriety.  People who become celebrities for nothing but their tweets, for instance.  High school girls who don’t realize that their college admissions offices are viewing their half-naked Girls Gone Wild moments on Facebook.  But mostly, the expectation that everything should be public, that a desire for privacy or, dare I say it, secrecy, is not only not allowed but probably sinister, proof that something must be wrong, must be illegal.  We expect now that we should have an open book on absolutely everything that happens in the world, in the military, in government.  Some people won’t be satisfied until the government has held an online vote on the best battle strategies in Afghanistan, until every diplomatic and congressional negotiation is broadcast live on every cellphone, and until the politics and art of governance are replaced with the brutish and adolescent tactics of a half baked blogger with an iPad.

How is it that we’ve arrived at a point in our nation’s history when people are actually celebrating a man who revealed stolen national secrets?

There aren’t two ways of thinking about this.  If a United States soldier, a man who is entrusted with the safety and security of our nation and takes an oath to protect and defend, steals classified U.S. documents while pretending to listen to Lady Gaga (high school, anyone?) and releases them to the entire world, including and especially our enemies (and yes, we do have them, just ask Oregon), there is only one word for that: Treason.

And for any organization or outlet that aides or abets that crime, by, say, publishing said classified documents, rather than doing the responsible (if unprofitable) thing and reporting said traitor, then they become accomplices at best, traitors themselves at worst.  This isn’t Woodward and Bernstein revealing the truth about an illegal affair in the White House.  This isn’t journalism.  It’s tattling.

I am extremely liberal.  Super liberal.  I’ve been ranting and raving at TSA for days because I don’t want anyone touching my metaphorical junk (being a girl and all) either.  Besides being a clear invasion of my civil liberties or something, basically it’s just gross.  I believe more fervently than most in Open Government and citizen engagement, having chosen these as my future career paths.  But I also believe in safety.  In security.  In recognizing that, contrary to what Sarah Palin may think, there is a such thing as gray area.  In fact, politics and diplomacy are pretty much all gray area.  Americans don’t like nuance but the fact is, that’s what life is about.  Shit happens.  Things get said and done and negotiated and there are closed doors and smoky rooms and battles and tussles and bad blood.  It’s called politics.  It’s why some people like living in Washington and some don’t.  But it’s how the world is run because we’re all a bunch of human beings just trying to get along and sometimes that gets messy.

I would rather die than endanger any citizen of this nation, especially our troops and the men and women who put their asses on the line for us every day.  And yet someone has done just that, blatantly and by all accounts proudly, and our own news organizations are celebrating his treason rather than questioning the intelligence of his actions.

I’m not saying that we go back to the days when the media was little more than a protective cloak for the presidency, but there is a deep chasm between that and where we are now.  Edward R. Murrow was a journalist, not a traitor, and I think we may have forgotten the difference.  Selling military secrets is not an act of heroism, it is an act of cowardice and spite.  It is childish and wrong and any news outlet and member of society who can not understand the widely discernible difference between doing what is right and doing what is good for pageviews needs a refresher course.

Maybe they can find one in prison.

AGinDC

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DC Generosity

Posted in All about moi by AGinDC on 22 November 2010

Today I discovered that some people in the city are absolutely teeming with generosity of spirit.  Because of the job at Local Department Store and lack of funds and my family being so far away, I’ll be in DC for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I don’t mind so much, I’ve spent the holidays away from home before and I always have plenty of friends and plenty of movies (and plenty of wine) to get me through it, but it is a little sad and especially now that I have a 15-month-old niece who I’ve only seen once.  Not counting Skype.

Anyways.

So some of the women from work were asking me what I’m doing for Thanksgiving and I told them and they were all sad.  Of course.  And then a few days later one of my favorites told me that she bought a turkey a few weeks ago but that the church where she works is giving her one, so do I want it?  Of course I said yes.  So today she shows up at my house, not just with a 12-pound turkey, but with an entire box full of Thanksgiving fixings:  stuffing, yams, potatoes, veggies, corn bread, cranberry sauce, you name it.  I was shocked and amazed, it was enough food to last me for weeks and way better than the pizza and Three Buck Chuck that I was planning to have.

All of my life and everywhere I’ve lived I have been blessed by the kindness of friends and relative strangers.  People are always giving me a hand, helping me out, and surprising me with generosity that I absolutely do not deserve.  My coworker today is just the most recent and amazing example of how I have only made it to 27 with the help and selflessness of countless good Samaritans.

This Thanksgiving, if you know a lonely single girl (or guy) who is spending the holidays without their family, you don’t have to give them a giant box o’ food, but a kind word and an expression of concern are more than enough to let them know someone cares.

P.S. Turns out, I’m going to a friend’s family’s house for Thanksgiving, which is double the generosity and means the box o’ food will last me for weeks on end!  Yaay DC!

Happy Holidays,

AGinDC

Awesomeness, thy name is Blues Traveler

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 18 November 2010

Today, in the final act of the Slurpee Summit, which I hadn’t heard of until about 20 minutes before I made my way to the stage, the makers of Slurpee brought free Slurpees and free Blues Traveler to everyone.  It was amazing.  I have always always loved Blues Traveler and always wanted to see them in concert.  In fact, if the mark of a classic band is when you’re stilling listening to their first album on almost a daily basis ten years later, then Blues Traveler has made the cut.  I must listen to songs from the Travelogue collection almost every day whilst going through my daily iPhone shuffle.  So, when Rev. Dave called to tell me that the bad was playing in a parking lot on H & 11th in 20 minutes, I threw on my argyle socks and gold laceless Christian Siriano for Payless sneakers (oh yeah, I rocks the fashion) and ran out the door.

The band was starting as I arrived and they were incredible.  The musicianship of these guys is amazing and of course they sang all of the classics, “Hook”, “Run Around”, “But Anyway”, etc.  I was in heaven.  The small crowd and I jammed for a good two hours before the show ended and I walked away able to check this experience off of my long list of “Things to do before I die and/or turn 40, whichever happens first”.

As I walked away the sky was a gorgeous shade of almost royal blue and there were a surprising number of people out and about in the Metro Center area for 7pm on a Thursday night.  It couldn’t have been a better night for a surprise free concert by an absolutely amazing band.

Hope you had a great Thursday!

AGinDC

Doing a little DC reading

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 15 November 2010

The last week or so has been crazy.  The holiday season is heating up at Local Department Store so I have started working full time hours.  This is hard on the feet but will be easier on the wallet, and just in time.  November has not been an easy month for the finances.  So thank goodness for public libraries and my mother’s Netflix account. Lately I have been watching a lot of TV on my trusty Mac (no, I haven’t seen For Colored Girls Yet, I’ll have to wait til it comes out on Netflix) and checking out a lot of library books.

Whenever I move somewhere new I like to read as much as I can about the area.  This meant reading All The King’s Men, A Confederacy of Dunces and all of the Ann Rice I could find when I moved to Louisiana, lots of books about the UN and the Khmer Rouge when I spent the summer in Cambodia, and A Long Walk to Freedom and other books about South African history during my semester there.  So, now that I’m living in the District, I’ve been reading books about politics, race, and Washington history.  So far, I’ve read Eugene Robinson’s Disintegration, which is true everywhere but the point is pretty vividly illustrated when walking down the streets of DC, The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe, the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (warning: it’s really really long), and I just checked out Washington: The Making of the American Capital by Fergus M. Bordewich.

Reading all of these books has given me such an interesting perspective on the city, combined with talking to DC natives (like the man at the Shwarma shop who told me about when his parents used to get all dressed up to go to U St because it was like Harlem in the 20s, I wish I’d been there), working at the Store with a lot of women from the area, spending time on the Hill with political wonks and their ilk, volunteering at the Washington Literacy Council and living in The Palace, I’m getting a pretty wide view of DC and how everything fits together.  This is such a beautiful and complicated city and there is a lot (a lot) happening behind the scenes and across the river that no one ever talks about.  I mean to learn a lot more, and to figure out where I fit in in all of this madness.

What other DC books should I be reading?

Have a great week!

AGinDC

We, the Delicious

Posted in Just another day in DC by AGinDC on 9 November 2010

Today I met a new friend for lunch at We, the Pizza on the Hill.  O.M.G.  It was crazy delicious.  First of all, the pizza:  amazing toppings (including butternut squash and goat cheese on their Harvest Pizza), perfect crust that was neither too thin nor too bready and had just the right amount of salt/flavor, and most slices are $4.  Perfection!

Second, the soda:  I ordered a cream soda, expecting a normal fountain drink.  OH no.  They made the cream soda with cream and shots of flavor and everything.  It was, without doubt, the most delicious soda that I have ever had in my life.  I was in love.  Also, the pizza and the drink were only $7.77.  Amazing.

After a short wait for the pizza (this was at lunchtime and the place was packed), we headed upstairs where there was plentiful seating and an adorable class of what looked like kindergarteners chowing down on their special lunch.  Could not be cuter.

Basically, We, the Pizza is pretty much amazing and I will be going back frequently.  Looove!

That’s all for now!

AGinDC

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I PASSED THE BAR!!

Posted in Uncategorized by AGinDC on 5 November 2010

That is all.

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Why Dems should be thrilled about last night

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 3 November 2010

Last night’s election wasn’t pretty.  After two weeks of volunteering at the DNC and over 18 hours in the office in one day helping to protect the vote, watching the returns while drinking bourbon out of styrofoam cups was pretty damned depressing.  And waking up didn’t feel any better.  But while I was eating lunch in my favourite House cafeteria today, I started to think.  And the more I thought, the happier I got.  A lot of this is due to the fact that I was with Ferr, and he’s hilarious.  But a lot of it is because I really started to think about what last night means.

While we’re all sitting around moping and feeling devastated and wishing things had gone differently, we really need to recognize that things are not as  bad as they seem.  In fact, they could have been a lot worse.  We lost the House and kept the Senate like we knew we would (turns out polling isn’t all that skewed after all), but we also achieved something we weren’t certain about.  Except for Rand Paul and Nikki Haley (who everyone knew would win and who aren’t really all that crazy) not a single one of the headline-making, Palin-flaunting, scary, crazy, racist, ignorant, out-of-control Tea Party/Republican candidates won.  Angle lost, Fiorina lost, McMahon lost, O’Donnell lost, even Whitman lost and she spent $140 million of her own damn money.  Sure, America rejected the massively progressive agenda of the last two years, the economy, the party in power, and the administration’s lack of communication.  That’s okay.  They also rejected the crazy.  Those of us who agree with Dems, those of us who read Talking Points Memo and Roll Call and get Mike Allen’s daily emails and understand the nuances of cap-and-trade might have been thrilled with Congress’ incredible accomplishments in the last two years.  But is it really so bad that there are people out there who don’t agree with us, that they voted, and that they won?  Is it so bad that the people who may not understand the finer points of the stimulus plan- mostly because we’re not so good at explaining it- might feel like the reason they don’t have a job is because of the party in power and maybe if we keep changing things eventually someone will help?  I don’t think it is.  What I do see though, is hope.  Maybe Jon Stewart’s rally worked after all.  We all had this communal nightmare of Tea Partiers taking over the Senate, running through the House, and burning every bank in the country.  Instead, Americans showed that they’re not willing to throw away their vote.  They might not vote for a Democrat, and that’s okay.  They’re not going to vote for a psycho either.

Nothing has given me as much hope for 2012, and for the sanity of our nation, as last night did.  Americans are not stupid.  And that means that if Mrs. Palin or any other mama grizzly, papa bear, or whatever other fake-folksy nickname a crazy Republican can come up with, goes against our President in 2012, Americans aren’t going to make just any choice.  They’re going to make the smart one.

God bless America, now more than ever.

AGinDC

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