My love/hate relationship with DC

My love/hate relationship with DC

They say the chances of lightning striking in the same place twice are slim to none, but after my crazy encounter this weekend, I am beginning to doubt that.

 

This past summer I studied abroad in Accra, the capital of Ghana. I made so many friends in this wonderful country. We studied at the University of Ghana and stayed at one of the International Hostels (dorms) on campus. Several local Ghanaians also stayed in the Hostel with us. We got to know several of the other Ghanaians living in the hostel with us and spent time hanging out in one another's rooms.

 

Flash forward:

I attended a reception several weeks ago at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. This was my first taste of a "networking event." I met a guy there named Prince there who sounded like he could have been Ghanaian, however, I didn't get the chance to ask before we left. This past weekend, I ran into him again at a party at Solaire in Maryland. We got to talking and I came to find out that he was, in fact, from Ghana. I asked where he went to school and discovered that not only did he go to the University of Ghana but he had lived in my hostel in one of my good friend's rooms!!! Talk about the odds!!!

 

 

 

D.C. Frustrations

I've reached a delicate part of my time here in DC. A time where I now find myself to be frustrated with this epicenter of domestic and global activity. I've been here just long enough to begin to get a feel for how work gets done in this crazy city and I can honestly say I've struck a dichotomy. Whether you're working on a policy change or asking for any amount of funding from any government office, the time it takes to get anything done is absurd! It seems as if no one can make a decision because each choice has to be cleared by five other departments. If I were to explain this process in detail to any "DC outsider," they would become infuriated with how broken the system seems to be....

 

.....but the system is not broken. Think about that for a minute. There has been relatively little change to the structure of our government in decades and yet we claim that the system is more broken now than it was when we started. Take Congress, for example. Congressional leaders are elected by constituents within the state they are representing. It is those constituents who give each Congressional leader their authority. It is the duty of that Congressman (or woman) to represent the interests of the constituents who elected them. With our booming population and growth of minority communities, there are now more voices to be heard on major political issues. It is no wonder that a representative from a state with a larger immigrant population, for example, is going to want to reconsider immigration policy because that's what is affecting the constituents THEY REPRESENT! Each Congressman or woman is representing only a small fraction of our American society, so it is no wonder it is difficult to negotiate an answer on many issues. Knowing this, I no longer look to the Government to solve EVERY issue.

 

As far as how long it takes to reach a decision, you can thank the departmentalization of government for that. A decision within one department may need clearance from a completely different department but this is done on purpose. Yes I said it, our government is slow ON PURPOSE! Decision making is slow in government to ensure that no one person is making all the important decisions. Isn't this what our Founding Fathers intended? What else is the separation of powers for?

 

 

 

While trying to explain all this to my parents over the phone, I climbed up a tree on the Capitol building lawn and watched the sun set over the Washington Monument. It's moments like these that give me clarity. The government has become like an annoying sibling to me. It drives you so crazy sometimes you want to just pull your hair out, but then you realize that it really is trying to look out for your best interests.

 

The next time you find yourself wanting to shout at the President, climb a tree on Capitol Hill and remember why we have the system we do.

 

Until next time...

 

-Katie

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