My dad and I started the morning at Union Station, where we had breakfast and then walked over to Pete Olson’s office in the Rayburn building so we could get gallery floor passes for both the House and the Senate, and scheduled a tour with a red-headed toddler (seemingly). He must have been over 21, but I’m not so sure. He looked a little like if William F. Buckley and Molly Weasley had a baby. As we were walking toward the House gallery, I stopped into Eleanor Norton-Holmes’ office, because I had heard of her my whole life, the “shadow congressman,” but I didn’t know what she looked like. They told me that they were glad I stopped in, because she’d be arguing today over a bill for DC, limiting reproductive rights in The District. I said, “I don’t even know what to say to that…. the stupid. It burns.” They told me they were glad to have me as a constituent (I didn’t bother telling them I lived in Maryland, because correcting them after the fact seemed rude). I told them that I was glad to be standing on the right side of history on this one.
Speaking of history, when we got upstairs to the gallery, Holmes-Norton took the floor and explained passionately why the bill was terrible for DC. When she sat down, the conservative asshats on the other side started using the same tired old argument for limitation on reproductive rights they’ve used for the last fifty years and I have a feeling it will still be voted down now. I mean, we’re not just talking about Roe vs. Wade. Let’s talk about Griswold vs. Connecticut. It’s not just women at issue- men as well. The state was found guilty of restricting access to education on reproductive rights, which also teaches men that in order to avoid pregnancy in their partners, they probably ought to wear a condom. Griswold established the right to privacy in marital relationships, which is honestly the illegal bus the pro-lifers are driving right now.
It makes people angry. Really angry.
The four people in front of me, when the opposition started speaking, stood up and held a giant DC flag, draping it over the railing (a huge no-no) and yelling “DC VOTES NO! DC VOTES NO!” I was just about to jump in with them when I realized that a) it was against the rules b) they were dragged out and arrested.
At that point, I said to my dad, “I have to get out of here or I’m going to lose it.” Both sides of the coin deserve to be heard, but when you’ve heard the same argument as a woman and lesbian over and over and over why your rights don’t mean as much as his, it’s hard to sit still. My dad came out a few minutes later and then we went down to the cafeteria. I was boiling and I needed a Coke Zero, STAT. We chatted and played with our phones until it was time to go and meet
William F. Weasley our tour guide, which was totally worth it. I got to stand in the original Supreme Court, where Marbury vs. Madison was decided. Jill and Lindsay will flip their shit (my sister, Jill, and I were all in Con Law together). I STOOD IN THE ROOM WHERE JUDICIAL REVIEW WAS CREATED, BITCHES. The only other person that it meant something to was my baby giraffe tour guide. But we each had THAT LOOK. You know the one. The one that comes from “this is my first time in DC.” It wasn’t, by any means, but that’s just the look I’m talking about. Wide-eyed and unbelieving at everything because it’s like believing six impossible things before breakfast. You mean Thomas Jefferson has stood RIGHT HERE?” Locals get over it quickly. I feel like Mr. Smith every single day.
Perhaps this is because I know what I lost when I left Virginia the first time, and I don’t want to let it go ever again. Going back to Virginia was not what mattered to me. Anywhere in the Metro area is fine. Just don’t take away my wonder. Just don’t take away my awe. Let me fall in love all over again.
Later, I saw three Marines having their picture taken on the steps of the Supreme Court. I got unbelievably choked up, and took each of their hands into my own and said, “thank you for your service.” I have been taught to say that over the years, along with “thank you for your sacrifice,” because you never know how the soldier feels about what he/she has been through and you never want to be offensive. But service and sacrifice are universal regardless of political affiliation. It’s just a way to give back from a grateful citizen, which I desperately am. I sleep better because I know they’re out there, protecting me even when they don’t want to. Because frankly, sometimes knowing me makes me harder to protect. 😛 Anything I can do to support those who serve me without being asked is another reason I love being here- I see service men and women all the time, and I am adamant about going up to every one. At National Airport during Christmas of 2011, I cried like a baby from the outside door all the way to my gate.
Can I move somewhere else?
DC VOTES NO!
2 thoughts on “DC VOTES NO!”
Glad to hear DC voted no. 🙂 Really glad. I would have loved to been there, seen that session in the house. I never liked politics or history until a couple years ago. Depression with the world and society caused me to take a deeper look at them though. And now I am far more vocal about my political opinions, because I believe they matter.. or at least that they should. Thanks for sharing this, really enjoyed reading it.
I hope to put more of my travels around DC in this blog, because so many things happen here that just wouldn’t in the rest of the country. For instance, I was standing on the steps of the Supreme Court when the case for marriage equality was being heard, and I got to meet some of the plaintiffs. That would not have happened anywhere else. I am in the right place at the right time to really see some shit go down, and I mean that in both good and bad ways. One of the things that makes me really mad about DC is that congressman have beers together all the time regardless of party, but when they walk into the Capitol, the gloves come off. If only they could drink beer on the floor, then maybe we’d get somewhere. Alternatively, every person in the room was on their iPhones, except the Speaker.