Get it? Because I’m halfway through my time in DC and the midterm elections just occurred?? Laughing to myself because play on words… but really where has the time gone?
Something I learned very quickly upon moving out of California and starting my internship on the Hill was that the rest of the world could care less about what the surf is like in Huntington Beach and what Hollywood stars are going to be spotted in LA for afternoon lunch. I must say, while I would consider myself far from ignorant or oblivious, living in Washington is like waking up every morning to a big slap in the face by this thing called reality.
People like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert shed light on the humorous side of all things ranging from political to social to economic issues and most people I know from home get their daily dose of politics from Buzzfeed. While all of these are completely legitimate sources, I have read more actual newspapers (like big shocker to some Millennials that they actually still print newspapers) while in DC than in my entire 21 years growing up in California. I am currently working in the press office as part of my internship, and being exposed to papers like The NY Times, The Washington Post, and Politico on a daily basis has changed my perception of reality for the better.
One thing that isn’t necessarily spelled out for you when you apply for UCDC is the amount of common knowledge and current events intellect that you will pick up on your time spent living in DC. On every corner there is someone selling a newspaper. At every metro stop there are signs with an ad recruiting support from NGOs, activist groups, and lobbyists. It is unescapable and honestly, I don’t think I would try to escape it even if it were possible.
The vast range of political ideologies and opinions people hold in DC opens up a new world into the way I have learned to process my own political thoughts. For the sake of being politically correct, and for not alarming my extremely conservative grandfather, I would have to say that living in DC has made what I thought were my political party allegiances more watered down and in the grey area. Everyone here has an argument for why their view is better than the opposing, and the majority of them are passionate people who know full-well the background of the issue they are taking a stance on, and have formulated arguments void of ignorance that really just make sense.
While the midterm election may have put the legislative and executive powers on opposite sides of the party defined lines, I think the forbidden word of “compromise” is going to need to be thrown around quite a bit more if anything is to get done during Obama’s fleeting years in office. Who knows, it may good for America to get a little dose of vitamin GOP back in its life as long both parties are able to meet in the middle on issues like immigration, LGBT rights, and the ever pending threat of Ebola and ISIS.
In other news, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and orange, and the fall weather is starting to kick in. As long as I don’t see an extensive amount of snow during my time here I think I’ll survive the 30 degree weather… maybe.