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20 December 2017
Washington DC is chock full of grand monuments to the dead. Apparently these dead are meant to keep an eye on the living. According to our guide, the George Washington Memorial and the Abe Lincoln Memorial are positioned to keep a sobering watch over the sitting President in the White House. The sitting President happens to be Trump who with the GOP passed ludicrous tax legislation today. Emma and I were sitting in a Washington DC cafe while Trump and his cronies were gloating to the press about their success in pushing this bill through. It was before Trump had even signed the document because otherwise it wouldn’t make the evening news. Originally it was going to be a press conference but it was a bunch of self-important speeches made by Trump and Republicans with the press not permitted to ask questions.
It was surreal sitting there in a cafe not terribly far from the White House where this was going down, where we had just come from actually and seen a reporter doing his piece to camera, only we couldn’t hear him above the tourists. There were Trump protesters present, one with a sign to motorists to honk if they wanted Trump impeached, and many did honk, including our bus driver. Another rode a bicycle with a huge #RESIST banner. He stopped at our viewing point and raised both middle fingers to the White House in salute.
At the cafe, all around us people were mainly ignoring the television screens, one on NBC, the other on CBS, and I wished I knew what they were thinking. I was wondering why there wasn’t a howl of protest going around. I wonder if they realise that any tax breaks they may receive will be taken from them through reduced expenditure on education and the like. And that the rich will just become even more richer at their expense.
This has been one of the differences this trip; being with family I am more insular with them instead of being open and talkative with strangers as much. On our bus tour today there was another family of four Australians, similar ages to us, but we barely said boo to them. They hailed from Camden, that’s all I can tell you about them. There were also Japanese, Italian and German people to whom the two guides spoke in these languages but I’m sure there were even more nationalities amongst our 35.
I’m not really sure the tour was that worthwhile. It was 4-5 hours each way, admittedly on a comfortable coach, plus a rest stop, leaving the middle 4-5 hours for driving round to these numerous dead men (sorry, women and children of fallen soldiers are also in Arlington Cemetery), hearing a little talk about them, point and shoot the camera, and moving on to the next one. At least I can tick off a few more tourist sites on those crazy Facebook checklists.