Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A week in D.C.

I'm in D.C. for the week with my Dad. I got in a day earlier than him and spent yesterday walking the length of the national mall. What a strange place: half church, half-zoo. The buildings and their subject matter are austere and important, but crowds swirl around them running and gawking. I'm trying hard not to pass judgment on the people playing frisbee on the U.S. Grant Memorial, or the woman watching her child feed nuts to a squirrel by the one of the Smithsonian buildings, but it's hard. I'm a snob. Or, really, I'm an acolyte. Not really a zealot--I don't have the stomach for it. Still, it's clear. Nationalism is my religion.

I don't think that's so absurd. The words above Lincoln's head in his memorial read:
In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever
The language is pretty clear. The memorial is a "temple." His memory is "enshrined" within. So when I feel that the swarming crowds around Lincoln, or elsewhere on the mall, don't treat the place with proper respect--really, that they're blaspheming(!)--am I wrong? Probably I am.


Today we're going to see an exhibit about art during the Civil War. Maybe we'll cruise by the capitol dome to see if the anti-circumcision protesters I saw yesterday are still there.

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