Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Washington D.C.

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The Pace of Our Nation's Capital

Gary James '10 - It’s our first night in the nation’s capital, and I’m tired. So are the other guys. Everyone seems to be keeping a low profile as they recover from a full day of travel and touring in lieu of the week’s itinerary.

The day was fast-paced and somewhat nerve-racking. There was constant action at all times. The car ride from the Chapel to the Indianapolis Airport was filled with conversation about the 2008 Presidential and Congressional Elections, the Wabash basketball team, and plans for next week’s crash course into the health policy-making.

There was a short wait at the airport, and the flight itself was less than an hour and a half.

From the time we touched down at Reagan National Airport, it was a race to stay above the fray. We picked up our luggage and pushed our way through the crowds. The passerbys refused to augment their course to make room for mine. At least two shoulders ran into my shoulder during the walking Saturday. And I realized the experience as a statement that the metaphor for Washington, DC as a place for hardball was true.

There is an edge to DC that is both attractive and off-putting. As I witnessed bystanders go about their lives as individuals who operate on their own time schedules, irrespective of others, I wonder how the rest of the week will be?  I wonder how congressional aides and lobbyists will interact with us, and what we’ll learn from them?

If they are anything like the people on the street, it should be an interesting week indeed. Perhaps, their personality will rub off on me.  I imagine they are driven, unyielding, and wiling to go to the mats for their cause. Those qualities must be requisite for the rough and tumble world of politics, especially inside the Beltway. 

Picture: The entire class on the national mall, in front of the Capital Building.