Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Family Trip/The Bowl/Fear

(P1) Philosophical

A Family Trip
(Introducing the children to fear and loathing of a new police state)

Having attended Georgetown University (so long ago), I've always prided myself on my ability to introduce newcomers to the sights and history of Washington D.C. Imagine my surprise and actual culture shock when I received an email from my daughter-in-law Deena Adkins describing her family's most disappointing trip to DC in the post-9/11 overreacting world. These are excerpts from Deena's email"


Sorry I'm a bit slow getting back to you, but Steve has been working from our office quite a bit lately and I haven't had much computer access. Anyway in regards to DC we did enjoy the history and the Smithsonian museums, but were disappointed by the lack of access to what used to be public buildings. To see the Capitol you must be at the ticket kiosk by 8:00 am when they start handing out appointment tickets for the day. Anyone who wants to go inside must be there in person to get a ticket, so even if you have a one year old with you, he must be there at 8 am to get his ticket. You then have to come back and wait in line again at whatever time you were given. We got 1:05 pm and had to stand out in the sun. (93 degrees and very humid and I'll admit the heat was a factor in our experiences)

Anyway they walk you up a hill to a side entrance where you get a speech on all the things you are not allowed to take inside, again. You then go through metal detectors and very small bags that our permitted are scanned. You go back outside and to another entrance where you again wait for permission to enter and are given more speeches about the rules. You must stay with your tour guide and group at all times and even lingering behind for a photo is cause for removal by security. You are told to take all pictures while the guide is talking to avoid eviction from the building. We saw only two rooms the rotunda and the statue room and were given a very rushed tour by the guide, while approximately 6 other guides gave the same tour making it difficult to hear.

Our guide felt bad about our limited experience and offered us passes to the house, which you must now get from your senator. To see the house we had to walk though a couple hallways that contained more statues and beautiful paintings, but we were forbidden to take any pictures in this area. We had to wait in line again and turn in all cameras, before heading through yet another metal detector, waiting again and finally being let into the house to view three people debating making a national sports week. I can't see any point to the second metal detector, do they think the guide passed us a weapon? I remember viewing state capitols prior to 9-11 and being free to walk in and wander all over the building without restriction. I expected more security, but once we're screened why can't we see the capitol at a leisurely pace. After all they put us through to get in, only to rush us through two rooms, not worth the trouble.

The Washington monument was the same way. To get tickets to go to the top you again have to be there at 8:00am and that means again anyone who wants to go inside. They go fast and though we tried twice we missed the last tickets by about a minute the second day. Very frustrating. We spent two of our mornings getting up early and rushing down there trying to get tickets to the monument and capitol, rather than being able to enjoy the full breakfast offered by our hotel. It just starts the whole day off on a stressful pace, not what I imagined or hoped our trip would be...

...To see the Archives we again waited in line outside in the heat. A few trees lined the street, so several of the parents had there children standing in the shade and Steve had insisted I go over there to avoid burning. A security guard came along and insisted that everyone had to be in line or they would not be allowed inside. She then went and stood in the shade of the tree. Once we were allowed inside they had us line up in long rows, packed together so that we were all touching and had no room to move. We then were given all the rules and finally allowed to enter the archive room. The point of all this was supposed to reduce crowding, but it was still very difficult to see anything without fighting for a spot or having someone pushing you. Steve wanted the kids to have the experience he had when he went to DC at age twelve, but they just wanted to leave. It was hard to enjoy or appreciate the history when your being treated like terrorist cattle.

Anyway sorry to be so negative, maybe someday with new leadership things will change, but looking at the White house through a fence, while a sniper on the roof points a gun at you is not an experience I plan to repeat anytime soon...
...Happy Fourth. Love, Deena"

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(P2 Poetical)

Luis Garcia

The Bowl
for George W. Bush (June 2004)

No matter what people say,
if it walks like a Texan,
if it talks like a Texan,

if it wears a ten-gallon hat
full of bull
like a Texan

and if it makes war like a Texan
then it must be
a Texan.

I'm sittin'
on this bone-white bowl
with my butt muscles flexin'

waitng patiently
for the birth
of yet another Texan.

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(P3) Political

"FDR calmed a nation when he said, 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' But the Bush and Blair slogan is, 'We have nothing to sell but fear itself.' "

- Greg Palast

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fred said...

my o my .. its not a war on terror .. its the "bush bunch" against everyone else in the world. THis really makes me sick

Larry C. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Larry C. said...

Finally caught up with your Blog today. I loved the Robinson Jeffers piece. Although I don't really know much about his work, there was a feature in the Pink Datebook yesterday (at the back) about his home in Carmel being open to tours. Sounds like a fascinating guy. I'll have to read more. Too bad about your daughter-in-law's tour of DC. Regardless of who is running our country, I do think DC is one of the most beautiful capitals I have ever seen. A few years ago, I took all my marketing directors from around the country to our East Coast headquarters (N. Virginia) and we did a day & night tour.

You are amazing what you have done with your Blog. It's a full time job keeping one up AND reading one! After reading about his death, I was sorry to have missed PD Publisher Michael Parman's blog. I just started reading Tim Goodman's BLog. He's the SF Chron TV Critic, and I find we are in sync in much of his tv criticism.