My first two weeks in D.C. have been exciting, eye opening and thought provoking. Out of those three adjectives, thought provoking would be the truest in regards to these first two weeks. Just seeing how hard it is to get things changed has been a little disillusioning. My first congressional meetings were not the enlightening experiences I thought I was going to have. I heard Columban Fr. Liam talk about Pakistan, what was wrong and how to fix it, and the staffers didn’t ask questions, but just took notes. I started to really wonder if they even cared. Then I started to think more about this feeling of disillusionment.
I could either become bitter towards the whole system or I could realize that this is going to be a hard battle.A battle to make sure the injustice in the world finds justice.
Coming to D.C. and seeing that there are other people who are fighting for the same things you are makes everything a little more real. I guess being here has filled me with mixed emotions. Seeing how hard it is to get things done and hoping people who can change things do care is one side. The positive side is finding people that care as well and all of those people are working for real change. I am learning more and more every day.
Just this week a colleague and I went to the Rayburn building for a hearing. This also happened to be the day Tony Hayward, CEO of British Petroleum, the company at the center of the Gulf Coast oil spill and related corporate scandal had his hearing to testify to the U.S. government in the same building. Seeing all the media and the excitement around the building was truly a D.C. moment, Seeing these happenings on TV is nothing like seeing and feeling it right in front of you. I started thinking about Tony Hayward and wondering how he sleeps at night. I could never imagine being under that much stress and pressure. Not making any excuses for him, but just thinking of the heaviness of the situation. Stopping to think about all the damage his company has done. Taking the risk for more money and failing. Now this man has to answer for all of it, as well he should.
With all the power a town like D.C. holds, it can be very overwhelming when you give time to really think about it. D.C. is a great town and the people I am living and working with are some of the nicest I’ve met. Overall this experience is going great so far; I am seeing and learning a lot.