Saturday, May 30, 2009

I'm On Vacation! Day 1, part 1 - DC

May 29, 2009

I took the red eye out of SFO, restless sleep for maybe two hours, landed 3:30 in the morning my time. Yep, ready to exhaust myself with history, cement and teenagers. I had the Super Shuttle drop me off at The Lincoln Memorial. Where else would I go first? My shuttle cohorts point it out in the distance. That's not it, it's so HUGE! Oh, it is? Well, ok! But it's so HUGE! Hoofing it, drawing ever closer, I ended up getting cock-blocked by Terry. Terry was a lovely lesbian who confirmed that this HUGE structure was indeed Lincoln. Of course, you can only see the columns from the side, as my Pres is seated deep inside. Rather than, oh, I don't know, let me visit the memorial, Terry kept flirting with me. She was a nice gal, very helpful with suggestions for sight-seeing. But the anticipation of seeing my man, who was like ten yards away was too much to handle while simultaneously making it clear: I'm no lesbo. Ok, byeee Terryyyy!
Honestly, I was startled by the limitless fashion and stink of the million or so teenagers clogging the steps, but I chose to ignore them and crept up the stairs, unable to prepare my eyes for what I would see.
Three steps from the top, his face peeks through the columns. Its a welcoming, sweet face that beckons you to come closer. And I did. And there he was. Again, let me be clear. HE IS HUGE. His hands pour over the construct of his seat. His feet, Shaqish. The Greek architecture, white, the marble flooring, the massive columns and high, HIGH ceiling promotes a calm and a reverence. It felt like hallowed ground. I took him in from each angle and then realised there was more. To the left, past more columns, carved deep into the wall was the Emancipation Proclamation. Immediately, I recalled memoriizing the first part for extra credit in seventh grade. I stood there and really read the words, really tried to understand their meaning, especially for that time period, what it meant for Americans to hear those words from their President, and I felt sad. The Civil War, slavery - so much death, inhumanity, struggle, so sad.
I turned around and took in the view from the top step. All of it was there: the reflecting pool, the monument, the Capitol building. I felt like Forrest Gump. It was awesome.
I had planned on just staying there, but now that I was in DC, all I wanted was to see and experience everything I could in my one day.
I pulled out my map to effectively navigate the Mall, and headed left for the Vietnam Memorial. A hundred teenagers stood next to the Statue of Three Soldiers, but I bravely investigated anyways. I circled the statue, in awe of the detail, and the way the artist captured the tired and worn spirit of the men. Where was this GD wall?? Then it hit me, it was right in front of me. I didn't realise it because it was so big and so long. I was stunned, and immediately horrified. This many man died for oil, tin and rubber. The tears came almost instantly and could hardly be contained. This giant gash in the earth was erected by the same men that greedily forced a nation's sons to fight for resources and power. I walked by it, stopping only once to feel it. I tried to read at least one name in each section. My pace confused me. I felt like I was moving faster than I wanted to. I passed a grandma and her four grandsons. She had them pose next to the wall for a picture. I looked into their faces to see if they would smile. They didn't. They seemed to understand the solemnity of this moment. I imagine the grandma explained. I moved along, composing myself on my walk.
Coming upon the World War II memorial, the first noticible element - HUGE. Sorry, it just is. It is more expansive than huge. It was finished in 2004 I believe. Each state is represented by a column, and at either end there are atrium sort of structures which are labled "Atlantic" and "Pacific". High inside the atrium are eagle scuptures, their claws curled around a banner. It was very cool to be under. There are fountains and small pewter carvings along the walls which picture troop life, life in America and Americans support of the troops. My grandpa and grandma were both in the navy, and I thought of my grandpa on his ship and my grandma stationed right there in DC. I then thought of my grandma and how I promised to get her pictures of Union Station and how I wasn't going to and I kinda suck like that. Carved in a bench standing next to the structure were these words concerning "the Good War", "Americans Came to Liberate Not to Conquer to Restore Freedom and to End Tyranny." Bullshit. Everything is infused with propaganda -both to justify war and to brainwash you for the next one. It was maddening to think of such things in the presencse of such a structure. I'll leave it at that or I'll just get preachy.
Everyone said, "The FDR Memorial is freakin' tits! Go see it." So I did. I walked the long walk around the basin to get there. For kicks, and to liven up this entry, I decided to type word for word what I recorded on my hand held after enjoying the memorial. Here it is..

I'm at the FDR Memorial. It is amazing as people have said. It just goes on forever. There are so many elements to it. I'm at the end here. Inscribed on the wall

Freedom of speech
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear

Like that will ever be realized.

There is a lot of elements of water, and building, and anti poverty here...that's pretty cool.
And he likes his dog. And my feet hurt.
More later.

Oh, and I'm surrounded by teenagers.

I followed the basin around to the Jefferson Memorial. It looks sort of like the Lincoln Memorial but its Jefferson and he's standing up. The columns and stairs are there. Also, each side is open to air, whereas Lincoln is enclosed on three sides. So there ya go. I was pretty miserable by this guy, with my feet and my back in strife. Plus, I kept meshing in with teenagers, confusing them and their teachers. There wasn't the same feeling of reverence because 1) the teens were blathering away and 2) I just kept thinking about Jefferson being a slave owner.

If you've made it to the end of this post, you have quite an attention span. Thanks for reading. Part 2 to be forthcoming. I just can't blog anymore today.

How Megan McCain Became the Most Sane Voice of the GOP

I'm in DC; let's talk politics, the straight dope.

Hey you, media savvy, yapping pie holes of the Republican party! You sound like idiots, so stop talking already. The idiots of the Democrat clique usually sound just as stupid. But, fortunately, for them, they need not make real comment about policy or current events when they only need wait for Republican comedy and then chew on it enough to fill 24 hours on MSNBC. (By the way, have you ever watched that morning show Morning Joe? Your immediate reaction should be, "Elly, why don't you have a political commentary show?" Because my immediate reaction was ELLY - WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A POLITICAL COMMENTARY SHOW? These brainless heads are boring, pointless, uncomfortably unfunny--although constantly laughing at each other; what are they laughing at?-- And the Starbucks cups? Does Starbucks pay for product placement or are all of them just shopping at neighboring Starbucks moments before they go on a national news broadcast? And lo and behold! They happen to get a represent variety of items one can enjoy at a local Bucks!). No wonder the general public shares in this brand of water downed politics void of critical thought.
The recent whining from Rush, Newt, Tom Tancredo (aka Colorado's Congressional dildo) regarding Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a RACIST causes me to guffaw in disbelief at Disney's promotion of public dismemberment and the worship of my flat, chiseled stomach. COME ON. Let's infuse some perspective into this mess: the poor, beleaguered WHITE MAN is being discriminated against by the all powerful LATINA WOMAN. Has anyone else noticed how the number of Latina women in power has been so pervasive in...I dunno...NONE... OF ALL THESE...ALL YEARS? God forbid we allow the upward mobility of another race or gender.
This is totally reminiscent of the GOP screaming "sexism!" amidst the Sarah Palin hoopla.
But oh no no - not bigotry nor destroying of equality exist when Fundy Republicans deny gay folks the right to marry. That's only preservation of heterosexuals' own right to fail at marriage.
You know, it's funny. I don't think the GOP was even aware of words like Racism or Sexism until they heard a liberal, pinko, nut job scream it in protest, in editorial or in court. Now they make a weak attempt to apply these loaded terms to their own political failures - as if others are to blame for their non-thinking platform.
And while I'm thinking about it, let's address the bitching over her being an "activist" judge. What's wrong with a judge interpreting the Constitution in a way which promotes the delineation of thoughtful justice? Promotion of the under dog? Reward to those who engage in Civil Disobedience when the government acts in immoral and unjust ways? Shouldn't we idealize the spirit of the law more so than the letter of the law?
It's bullshit to run a court like a Catholic mass. Why is government afraid of independent thinkers? Perhaps because their foundation is muddied and weak with years of lies and propaganda. The real substance of the government as a helper to the people is an allusion. More specifically, its protection of democracy is an allusion.
Howard Zinn makes this great argument for doling out real justice: A group of Vietnam protesters are arrested for breaking into a government office and destroying draft records. Consequentially, they are brought to trial. The judge, listen, THE JUDGE allows the defense to present arguments which explain the immorality and illegality of the War. The government lied to the citizenry, etc. The War is proven to be unjust by political activists and philosophers - more so, via the government's own documentation from the Pentagon Papers. Although the men and women on trial perpetrated the crimes of breaking and entering and arson, the jury is asked to analyze the higher moral mandate. The jury acquitted the offenders; a member even threw a party in their honor. If the judge had been more conventional and stuck to the strict interpretation of the literal laws broken, he or she wouldn't have allowed the defense to get to the heart of the matter. In fact, this was usually the case. During Vietnam, thousands were jailed for acts of Civil Disobedience.
In the end though, priests who wanted to stop the needless death and burning of children were tried in a court of law, yet the GI's who committed violent, despicable acts against women, children and the elderly in the Mai Lai 4 massacre are allowed to go free and are even given permanent political kush jobs. Where is there justice?
Heck ya, I want an activist judge. And really, so does the GOP. They just want one who activists their beliefs.
Check out Megan McCain on The Colbert Report. The point of view of a single, young Republican woman who is open and progessive with regard to social issues is exactly what the GOP needs to begin a new. Old white dudes had their, I don't know, THOUSANDS OF YEARS REIGN AND CONTINUALLY FAILED. TOO BAD FOR YOU. UR DOIN' IT WRONG.

So I am in DC! More of that to come...