Friday, October 28, 2005

Fire and Brimstone

Today the interns got to meet the Senator. Today JoAnna got to skip Spanish class to meet the Senator. Can life be any better (?Puede ser viva mejor?)?

The problem with meeting an important person is that I have to physically prepare myself for the event. I have calmed way down since my Senate Feaux Pas on the tram, but I still get butterflies and red-faced when I am around important people. Additionally, I get crazy nightmares about the Senator asking me to make copies of an important speech. I go to press the copy button and the machine not only jams but explodes into a gigantic pile of confetti right on the reception room floor. Right then, a large group of tourists stroll by with another senate intern pointing out my embarrassment as yet another cool capital hill attraction.

What this means, Richard, is that I should never be an important person myself. I would be in a continual state of distress knowing that I would have to talk to other important people every day.

But the day ended up going really well (and I didn't have to make copies for anyone). We took group pictures on one of the Russell Building marble stairways, took a picture one on one with the Senator (who greeted us by name, proving that the briefing book works pretty well....or that the intern coordinator was standing behind us mouthing our names), and then got to crowd around the tiny conference room table to ask the senator any questions we wanted to.

You ever watch C-SPAN? I will admit that I am as addicted to it as my roommate is addicted to Gilmore Girls. But when you watch the senators on the floor, they seem bored, restless, and simply annoyed to have to take time out of their busy schedules to participate in a roll call vote. On occasion they will have a bizarrely heated discussion about sometime weird (like the argument that broke out last week over naming a federal building after Rosa Parks) but generally I am the only person in the world that gets a kick out of C-SPAN.

Talking to a senator (my senator at least) in person is an entirely different experience. It may be that we were a captive audience who would have been please with anything, or that there were no cameras in the room, but the Senator was so excited about all of our questions and answered with so much enthusiasm and passion. Every now and then I am reminded why I like DC and politics and all that: the senators, even the ones I disagree with, got to the senate because they are really smart people with an incredible passion for what they do. My senator is a little unique (aka: a stone cold genius), but speaking about the most mundane topics like poverty and civil rights, the senator's voice started soaring and the speech got more eloquent. By the end of a tirade about the Bush administration's actions concerning Katrina, the Senator was invoking the fire and brimstone that only one of our time's greatest political and oratorical minds can put forth. I truly believe that I am working for the right person and that I am working for the right ideals.

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