Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


March 29, 2012

Another View

Washington, D.C.-The Kind City

Knoxville —  


I surprise myself with this title.  Here’s how it happened.  My husband and I wanted to visit D.C. and could afford to stay there only because a friend of a friend volunteered, “You can stay here.”


We didn’t realize how outrageously kind that was until we arrived and saw that he had moved out of his bedroom to a much smaller room so we would have ample space.  He moved with equal speed to get a sticker for our car so we could park on his street.


We had arrived – by chance – during cherry blossom time, plus spring school break, which brought an extra million or so tourists.  The real challenge though came because Washington seems designed as a city for mass transit, bicycle, taxi, and walking.  Wonderful – unless you have a car and need to park. 


So we bravely explored the bus system.  That’s when I realized the word for our Washington visit was “kind.”  Yes, I mean “kind” like considerate, compassionate, and helpful.  One bus-driver after another patiently took time to tell us how to catch the next bus. 

 In our brief visit we could see only one of our Senators, and chose the one we hadn’t seen recently, Senator Harkin.  We found his Wednesday morning breakfast a fine buffet, with staff members who kindly learned our interests while the Senator moved through the crowd to visit with each of us.  

While waiting we met others, including Pork Producers.  I got to visit with a neighbor from that group.  The word “kind” applies again – he must know that I’ve been vocal with concerns about Confinement Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) like his, but he came over to offer me a valuable local map. 

Mr. Harkin was surely tired of talking with Iowans – or people in general – by the time he got to us.  But he was warm and welcoming, even though I mentioned my interest in legalizing marijuana. He listened, and sighed.  I believe he indicated that U.S. drug policy is out of date, ineffective, and overdue for an overhaul.  It made me feel sorry for anyone in government.  

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