I have been lucky enough to spend my last three weeks in Washington, DC meeting and speaking with the leaders of the United States. I have attended meetings in the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, the Democratic and Republican National Committee Headquarters, and many other important locations. Although I keep hearing that this is a crazy time to be in DC and that this is not the norm, I have been nothing short of impressed.
And even enlightened and hopeful.
Every single person that I have met with has not only taught me important lessons and information about this city and our government, but they have also given me thoughtful advice and influenced my path in life.
Prior to coming on this trip, I would have considered myself a hardcore Democrat, if not a Liberal. I struggled to see the other side or honestly even talk to people who did not agree with me. This attitude was easy for me to adopt considering that it has become increasingly easier to surround myself with people and even news outlets that agree with my views.
Now that I have completed my three weeks in DC, I have a brand new perspective. I still stand strong, if not stronger, in what I believed in before. But I now have a new outlook and attitude on politics as a whole. I met Republicans that I loved talking to and learning from. Quite honestly, some Republican speakers were my favorite speakers and teachers. I also met amazing Democrats who I clicked with and agreed with nearly everything on. At first I was apprehensive to like Republicans, but now I have noticed that being an R or a D does not always define who a person is beyond politics.
Now this is where it gets interesting.
I credit this newfound perspective to the fact that DC is not as partisan as you think. The public sees DC as a city of a constant battle with red vs. blue being the only two teams. However, from what I have learned hands on through my time here is that this is simply not the case.
Not only do Democrats and Republicans in DC not hate each other like you think they do, they work together. They are friends. They are all working for the same people, the same nation, and the same cause. It may not seem like it 99% of the time, but everyone in DC is here for the same reason: they love the United States of America.
Now this is not to say that there is no partisanship or gridlock. Of course there is. But what I am saying is that the political fight that you witness on the news is nothing like the world that I have witnessed in my three weeks in this town... Yes, this town. That's what everyone here calls it. And if that's not enough to sell you on the fact that DC is much more of a community than you think, here's another little something.
I brought my observation of this lack of animosity up to someone here and they laughed and agreed. In fact they said something along the lines of, "in Washington, Republicans and Democrats are not what people from the outside think, we just let the good times roll here".
So next time you hear about the crazy partisanship in our Capitol, take a second to reevaluate. I promise that if you were here you would realize that it is not so bad. And that the good times are rolling.