Wednesday, October 08, 2003

What Makes Washington So Special

I read Washingtonian Magazine by mistake this afternoon.

The smug and clueless advertising vehicle is a near perfect reflection of its vacuous, self-important, suburbanized readership – pilot fish on the mighty ship of state.

Washingtonian usually contains howlers when the editorial staff strays too far from “family restaurant” reviews and touches on actual public policy issues.

Case in point, a syrupy puff “interview” with Jesse Jackson Jr., the Illinois Congressman who happened to grow up in Washington, D.C. where his philandering father ran a Chicago-based race consultancy shakedown operation.

Washingtonian asks Rep. Jackson its very most favorite question of all:

What makes Washington special?

"Only our central government has the power to grant new rights to the American people, and it is those rights that make us indivisible and guarantee liberty and justice for all. When we turn our back on the central government and seek solutions within the states, we remain a separate and unequal system."

Rights granted by the central government?

This guy is a Congressman. He works in the U.S. Capitol.

To get to his desk he needs to walk past pictures and statues of famous Americans such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison.

Has he ever wondered who those people are . . . why are they crowding up the hallways like this. . . perhaps even what did they think the role of government was?

Jackson believes he is in the business of creating new rights and granting them to Americans. Rights like the right to clear television reception, the right to corruption-free professional wrestling, the right to unedited inane magazine copy.

And these rights are what make us indivisible and liberty and justice for all and shit.

Seeking solutions within the states – which I believe Jefferson called the “great laboratory of democracy” -- makes us separate and unequal.

Seems to me Congressman Jackson is the one who is separate and unequal. After all, he went to an elite secondary school and was elected to Congress as a first job on the basis of his father’s accomplishments.

I don’t begrudge him that . . . it’s just a shame that he’s missing a great opportunity there in Congress to learn about the fundamentals of American political philosophy.

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