WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF WASHINGTON, D.C., THE CITY WE LOVE
People think Washingtonians are ‘corrupt’ and ‘arrogant.’ Well, people are ‘dumb.’
BY John Kelly
October 30, 2016
The Washington Post
NOTE: We Washingtonians, (you, know, the 658,000 Americans who do not have representatives in Congress even though we have more people than Wyoming and Vermont) love our city. Sure, we see, read and hear all the crap that’s thrown at us in the press, but we just go on living our lives in one of America’s truly great cities. And, we tend to ignore all the stupid shit that happens on Capitol Hill, because Capitol Hill and Congress aren’t filled with real died-in-the-wool Washingtonians who have struggled or decades to finally make our city the wonderful place that it is today. We know very well that all the invective, the snide comments, the tirades against Washington are pretty much directed at those temporary residents, Senators and Congressmen, who temporarily occupy our city while they are in office but don’t really live here. So we just ignore them. John Kelly pretty much sums up our feelings.
“A survey found that when the public was asked what words it associated with people from Washington, the three top answers were ‘corrupt,’ ‘educated’ and ‘arrogant.’ ”
Corrupt, educated and arrogant? Well, to quote Meat Loaf, two out of three ain’t bad.
It’s funny that this should be the public’s opinion of people from Washington. I joked about it with a friend I met recently outside the Folger Shakespeare Library. He was giving me a bag of cash to ensure positive coverage of a client.
A woman interrupted our tete-a-tete. “Excuse me,” she said. “Are you parked in that handicapped space?”
“Yes, you worm,” I said. Then we both laughed. She had a bag of cash in her hands, too!
It’s a people-from-Washington thing. You wouldn’t understand.
But, you know, what others call arrogant, we call self-assured. What others call corrupt, we call prudent. What others call educated, we call erudite (from the Latin erudire: to polish, as with a rough stone).
I wonder whether these people who aren’t from Washington — the ones who find people from Washington corrupt, educated and arrogant — aren’t maybe just a teensy bit jealous. They’d like to be corrupt, but their sad little burgs are hardly worth fleecing.
They’d like to be arrogant, but they’re too busy blocking lanes on bridges so they can conduct “traffic studies.”
They’d like to be educated, but they keep banning evolution from their classrooms and buying textbooks that leave out big, uncomfortable chunks of history.
In other words: People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
The latest battle cry of these hypocrites is “Drain the swamp!” The District was never a swamp. That’s a myth. Of course, “Drain the swamp” is just a metaphor. It means get rid of, well, everybody.
All the federal workers? All the government agencies? All the special-interest lobbyists? (Examine the mail you get over the course of a week, and you’ll see all the special interests that are lobbying for you.)
I can’t wait to see what happens if these tough-talking bomb throwers actually do get in power. I suspect they’re going to find it’s a little harder to keep a government — to keep a country — running than they had thought. They’re going to be like primitive humans who stumble into a spaceship and wonder what this switch does.
I’m sorry. Did that sound arrogant?
Drain the swamp, huh? Well, one person’s swamp is another person’s rich, ecologically diverse wetland.
I can’t help but suspect that the “Washingtonians” the public thinks are corrupt and arrogant probably aren’t from Washington at all. Those “Washingtonians” are politicians who won an election and moved here from someplace else.
I can’t think of another city on earth that is so wonderful that people spend years of their lives and millions of dollars in an effort to get to it, while simultaneously being so awful that they want to destroy it once they arrive.
Maybe the Branding Greater Washington Task Force can remedy this. That’s the group of D.C.-area civic leaders that is trying to address the District’s perception problem. Should Washington’s federal connection be stressed or soft-pedaled? Do we need a new slogan?
Examples of tag lines with which other cities have successfully branded themselves include “I love N.Y.,” “Keep Austin weird,” and “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
How about: “Keep Washington.”
Just keep it. Don’t let anti-government yahoos tear it apart.
Or maybe: “What happens in D.C. becomes the subject of a lengthy congressional investigation that just ends up being a waste of taxpayer money, not that Washingtonians really have that much control over how their taxes are spent anyway, being without a voting representative in Congress and all.”
Too long to fit on a T-shirt? This one’s shorter: “D.C.: It stands for ‘Don’t Come!’ ”
Seriously, just don’t come. If all you’re going to do is bad-mouth this place once you get here, stay where you are, in your perfect little non-corrupt, non-arrogant and non-educated happyland.
Do you have an idea for a new greater Washington tagline? Send it to me, with “D.C. Slogan” in the subject heading.
NOTE: So while the entire country is embroiled in the latest Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal and the FBI is attempting to separate classified e-mails from Anthony Weiner’s dick pics, we here in D.C. are attempting to figure out how we are going to get to work under METRO’s next phase of “Safe Track” (an extremely worthwhile endeavor to repair our aging METRO system and one that we wholeheartedly support) as a couple of Red Line stations will be shut down for a two of months.
But such an inconvenience barely registers to us since we know that we live in one of the most liberal, welcoming and vibrant cities in America.
Love to you all!!