Don’t Let the Midterm Elections Get You Down

A weekend in Washington D.C. brought back my patriotic mojo

Two weeks ago I posted a column that was pure doom and gloom. All about how asea I feel in these turbulent times — a feeling of confusion, floundering without a compass. That sure sounds depressing, right? I’m convinced that’s how lots of folks are feeling these days. An air of political fervor is everywhere, especially with the all-important midterms approaching, that seems marked by fear and trepidation. Is the world coming to an end? Is our country disastrously heading for Armageddon? Voices warn of mayhem at every turn. And so it was with this heavy heart that I traveled down to Washington D.C. last weekend.

My husband and I took a weekend trip to D.C. not to explore the city but rather to meet up with my college freshman daughter and a gaggle of her friends. We made no plans in hopes that the kids would fit us into their rigorous study schedule for a meal or two. It came to light that beer pong and a toga party were actually the competing activities. Big surprise. Left with some time on our hands, we decided to explore some of the many museums and exhibits in the area. [SIGNUP]

First stop was the Holocaust Museum. Like I needed to get more depressed, right? If you’ve not been there, go. And take a box of tissues. It is moving and emotionally draining without being sensational. Sure, there are some gruesome pictures, but the exhibit, in its entirety, is an exposé of the worst of human behavior on an alarming scale. I left feeling even worse about the world. Yup, I was pretty sure that doom and gloom would be my pals for a long time.

After the Holocaust Museum we considered where to go next. I voted for the American Indian Museum but my husband wisely offered something more uplifting, the Capitol. We arrived just in time for a guided tour. Our tour guide, John, was pleasant and outgoing and, well, happy. We spent the next hour and a half touring the building, learning of its architectural history and, most importantly, of the history of what takes place there, government. I stood on the spot where John Adams argued against slavery in the House of Representatives. I saw the small chamber that originally housed the Supreme Court. I marveled at a building that was burned and rebuilt during a time of civil war, all to preserve the perfection of political design set forth by this country’s founding fathers. I remembered, was reminded by our guide John actually, that this government is a cherished miracle that works. It works because of its genius in design and its commitment of purpose. It weathers wars and tides of change. It is a foundation that is steadfast and well designed to offer framework and guidance in governing. And we can rely on it; that’s the important message.

I left feeling better. Calmer. Got my patriotic mojo back, I guess. And while it’s still important to be educated and to vote and to speak of our commitments, it’s also important to rely on the founding principles of the Constitution. They will guide government through its duties and responsibilities. Now I can spend more time worrying about those beer pong games.