For five years, Mark and I lived in Maryland. He got a job in Bethesda and we lived about 15 miles away. The first weekend we were there and not even close to getting settled, we loaded up the stroller with Baby #1, and took the train to the National Mall to see the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. From there, we walked over to the White House and sat in the summer heat for more than an hour, just staring.
The metro stop for the Mall is Smithsonian Station. As you make your way up to street level, the first thing you see is the Capitol Building. I couldn't even count the number of times we used that stop to sight see or take friends and family for a tour when they were in town. Dozens and dozens of times. The first time I saw that building, it took my breath away, and continued to each and every time.
In a few days, Congress will be back in session and we will all bear the burden of their endless arguing. After a much needed summer break, this weary and worried country will once again be subjected to predictable sound bites and talking points from our politicians. I don't know how it is possible for anyone to stand in that building and not feel the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Bobbie Kennedy or Martin Luther King, and then think it's acceptable to dishonor it with bad behavior.
Do the nearly 60,000 names on the Vietnam Memorial, the mountain of shoes in the Holocaust Museum, or the watchful gaze of Abraham Lincoln, not echo continuously in the thoughts of those who represent us? Do the souls of those who fought the good fight ever whisper in their ear, pleading with them to not repeat the mistakes of the past? The history of our country has required great things from ordinary citizens, and there are countless examples of those who have risen to the task. While they go about their quiet work, this Congress will put a pin on their lapel and look straight into the camera, while patriotism searches elsewhere for a hero.