Last week, I accompanied my family along with 16 eighth graders and some other adults to Washington D.C. The tour was thru an organization called “World Strides”. The cost is about $2,300 a person which included airfare, meals, admission to all venues, tour guide and bus to haul you about the area.
I plan to blog about the various places that we visited in future installments but to begin with I wanted to address the question of what makes DC different? Donald Trump and others call this region “The Swamp”. In the 1970’s Gary S Paxton called it “Potomac Fever”. Over the years, others have questioned whether there is something in the water that makes D.C. different. In short what makes this region so disjointed from the rest of the country. However, this is question is phrased, it remains, “Why don’t our representatives represent us?”
I will offer a few thoughts based on my brief observations.
Washington DC is a rich and prosperous area. With trillions of dollars flowing thru the Federal government coffers, having a bureaucracy able to direct this amount of wealth is a daunting task. Government produces nothing but consumes much. Tens of thousands work in and around DC in support of “Uncle Sam”.
As the nation’s capital, much of the best housing, entertainment, and goods available are readily accessible. Gasoline is over a dollar a gallon cheaper than California. Housing costs are high but so are wages. Also, much housing is available just outside the District. Roads are not well maintained but mass transit of various sorts is accessible as well.
One thing that is clear is that elected representatives never have to interact with the public unless they choose to do so. While touring Congress, we entered thru the public entrance and elected folks have a private entrance. Members have token office space at the Capital and larger accommodations at nearby office buildings.
One example of the disconnect between California and its representatives is the statues on display in the capital building. Each state gets two statutes—typically bronze or marble—to represent them. I recall seeing Thomas Edison, Robert E Lee, Jefferson Davis, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc. The statutes representing California were Ronald Reagan and Father Junípero Serra.
Reagan was a President from California (as was Richard Nixon) and both were Republicans. I can understand Reagan but I’m not sure the average voter in the once Golden State would agree. Folks, I doubt the Reagan statute would be allowed to be prominently displayed, if at all, in our own Capital in Sacramento.
The second statute, an image of Father Junípero Serra, represents California too. In the current political climate, there is no way in hell that Father Junípero Serra would be regarded by those in power as a representative of what is unique and good about California. Last I heard, Serra was about to get the Christopher Columbus treatment and be purged from our history and recast as an exploiter of native peoples. Serra was not the face of salvation and Christianity but an enslaver and exploiter of those that were—up to that time—living in blessed harmony with nature.
Visitors to our nation’s capital get to see both statutes as those that represent California’s best. Apparently, the California contingent led on the House side by Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, and Nancy Pelosi and on the Senate side by Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Kamala Harris have never noticed the incongruity or really don’t believe all the B.S. that they spout when they are back home.
Those elected to D.C. are part of an exclusive club that is far more select than the so call one percent. These guys get drivers, armed security, special access, and are part of the aristocracy of power that makes our world go around.
Occasionally they make honest mistakes which in their world means when they are honest that it’s a mistake. Take our local jewel of colossal ignorance, Doris Matsui. For many years, Doris listed her residence as Maryland not California.
Sacramento Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui has repaid $2,800 in back taxes on her $1.5 million Maryland home after state officials said she received tax breaks for erroneously claiming it was her permanent residence.
Matsui, 65, indicated earlier this year that she wanted to withdraw her application for the tax breaks and that she would voluntarily repay the back taxes, said Robert Young, associate director of Maryland’s tax office.
The tax credit she sought is a homestead tax benefit for residents of Maryland. Young said Matsui had to answer a questionnaire that asked whether her property in Montgomery County, Md., was her “principal residence” and whether she was registered to vote in the state, among other things.
Matsui said she has paid in full; however, the state of Maryland disagrees.
Young said Tuesday that Matsui still owes thousands and that she will be assessed penalties and interest for not paying back taxes dating to 2005.
“What I can tell you is those monies have not been repaid,” he said.
Rob Hagedoorn, chief of Montgomery County’s Division of Treasury, said Matsui and her husband, Robert, the former congressman who died on Jan. 1, 2005, in all likelihood had received the tax break even before 2005.
Matsui lied for many years, as did her husband before her, just to get a tax break. But I disagree about one thing, Matsui lied, not about her principal residence being in Maryland, but that her principal residence is in Sacramento. Truth is that she hasn’t lived in the area for decades. She is only occasionally in the area near election time. She doesn’t represent anyone in California, she is a Democrat first and a loyal vote for their leadership and thus insulated from the consequences of her stupidity—as long as she votes right.
Sorry, I can’t quantify what’s wrong with “The Swamp” but for those of us outside that bubble, its easy to see what’s wrong with it. I hope the examples above illustrate that fact.