Tuesday, December 16, 2003


A friend of mine, who is a novelist, and who lives in Washington, DC., recently told me that she felt the nation's capital was the moral center of the universe. I took this to mean that she sensed that in that company town, folk were facing great issues of good and bad that affected the world. Facing them and unable to escape them.

DC is one of those places where news permeates everything, where televisions in every office are set to C-SPAN or one of the cable news networks.

This is where the decision makers live, and just by being in the area, one does not forget the world or the country. In a city that monumentally glorifies our national understanding of democracy, and liberty for all, (monuments that have been infused with protests and institutional power), one often cannot escape the outside world, the presence of war in the world, or poverty or any issue facing humankind in dramatic, sometimes tragic ways.

To further add to this awareness, one finds on each block multiple interest groups representing some point of view, some industry, some educational community, if not an embassy from another country.

If Washington has never been the pulsating place that New York City is, which often plays more of a role to this country similar to London's in the UK, it is the arena, the artificial city devised by Congress to live, breath and die running the government.

The only American city that is not anchored within a state, and the only American city where its citizens have no representation in Congress, Washington is a stage for power, and a collection of some of the most interesting people in the world, some of the richest and poorest, and a stopping off place for what a Washington Post reporter once described as the nation's self-selected type As.

No comments: