Years ago – when my friend Maureen’s boys were little, we met in DC for a weekend. I was there for business and stayed an extra weekend. Maureen, who had lived there years before brought her boys and they showed me the town.
I remember in particular the visit to the Hill; I gather, digging through hazy recollection, there is a process whereby young men and women act as interns for their congress men and women. One of the chief duties of these young people is shepherding tourists around the hill.
We had two young men, as I recall. One, I think was from Arizona. There came a point in the discussion where I made a reference to West Wing, especially to Leo McGarry and Big Block of Cheese day. It was a somewhat obscure reference, but the young man immediately got it, and we chatted about our love of the show and the entire notion of politics.
DC is many things. It is a town of memorials, of memories, of hopes and dreams. It’s an icon and a beacon. It’s exactly where two young men should go to participate in the dream that is freedom and democracy.
What happened today in the Capitol, it was and is and will be history. It is a pox, a blight, a horror.
And I think of those young men at the hill. How we traded jokes about West Wing, about the best of what is the experiment and dream of the United States of America. Maureen’s boys, who are not so little, watched an armed insurrection on television today. They are brave and curious young men. The young men I met that day on Capitol Hill won’t be young anymore either.
There would have been young men and women on the hill today. Some of them with stars in their eyes, some of them who still believe in the experiment that is democracy.
Bartlett, the President in West Wing, the President we have dearly wanted and missed these last 4 years, the President who called forth our better angels, he used to say something. It reminded us to keep moving, to keep hoping and to keep working. It seems like a good thing to ask right now . . .