My reason for visiting Washington DC was to see the statue of Will Rogers in the Capital building. I knew that it has been in the background for dozens of TV interviews, but I didn’t really consider the fact that it wouldn’t be available to the public. From what I understand, it used to be one of the two statues to represent the state of Oklahoma in Statuary Hall along with Sequoyah and representatives from the other states. Unfortunately, Will Rogers seemed to be the only one whose shoe people would rub for good luck so they moved him into the connecting corridor to the chambers so the public would no longer molest him.
However, I was able to find a bust of him in the Smithsonian gallery and eventually got to rub the foot of the original statue at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum near his birthplace and one of his on his horse, Soapsuds, in Fort Worth. So Will has given me just about all of the luck he’s gonna give me. It went both ways in DC.
The day I was visiting was a national holiday so parking was free. Being in Washington traffic on a motorcycle was an interesting experience. Although their license plates read “No Taxation Without Representation”, I think they should say “Be Prepared To Stop”. I got to spend some time in some of the museums, but bad weather was moving in so I only had a few hours before heading back to my host’s house in Maryland.
What amazes me about DC are the buildings. So many of them are so incredibly large, with unnecessary but imposing and impressive columns and other architectural features to help legitimize the shenanigans that take place inside. And the number of food trucks and other mobile merchants is staggering.
Regardless of whatever criticisms I or others may have about the US government, it’s still a pretty amazing story of how it all came about. While I don’t necessarily romanticize their heroism (other than listening to Hamiltion a kajillion times and producing a video series of songs from it), I realize they were fallible men who contributed to the world they were living in as they were able with whey they were given. They weren’t perfect, and neither is the system that’s evolved from their best attempt, but it was a pretty amazing attempt, and I think it still has more to offer us.
There have been times that I’ve thought the US government was so corrupt that we’d be better off scrapping the whole thing and starting anew. However, that’s not the way evolution works. Now, I am pretty convinced that the Democratic and Republican parties are corrupt beyond repair, and they certainly should be obliterated, but if we can do that, then I think America may still have a chance of creating the democracy our founding fathers imagined before they gave up and settled on a two party system.
As the song “The Story of Tonight” says, “Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away no matter what they tell you.” I think the question we need to ask ourselves in our time is what we really want to do with the freedoms we have. Hopefully, we take responsibility for them.