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Washington Vibe

This past weekend I took my family to the Green Expo in Washington DC. Green Expo is a series of consumer shows around the country on everything green, organic, and good for the planet. I went to humbly accept a check on behalf of the Rodale Institute for a program with Organic Valley and Nature’s Path called Eat Like a Hero—which was very special and so much appreciated. Eat Like a Hero encouraged consumers to vote with their dollars and buy organic—and rewarded them for doing so with a free 1-year subscription to Organic Gardening magazine and a $1 donation to the Rodale Institute on behalf of every participant. The campaign was a huge success, raising $50,000 in support of the Rodale Institute’s research and organic farming programs. The Rodale Institute has done research on organic agriculture that shows that it’s the number one thing we can all do to stop global climate change—and improve our health. (You can read more about that when my book, Organic Manifesto, comes out next March. Till then, check out rodaleinstitute.org for more information.)

Last time I was in DC was for the Inauguration. (It’s amazing what good weather can do to improve your mood.) I actually used to live in Washington in 1985, when Maya was 4. Back then Ronald Reagan was in office, and honestly, I was a little scared of being hit with a nuclear bomb. I didn’t visit the city much during the Clinton years, or during the Bush years either. So this was my first trip since Obama, whether you like him or not, took office. We stayed at the Hay Adams hotel, which is conveniently located right across the street from the White House (or, as the brochure says, “where nothing is overlooked but the White House”).

What first struck me as we walked past the White House on Saturday night was how patriotic and happy people seemed. There was a definite feeling of pride among the tourists that I had never felt before. The next morning as we walked to the Expo, we watched the National Equality March for gay rights go by. Somewhere in the crowd was my yoga teacher, who has “equality” tattooed on her forearm. I felt hopeful, because we were standing right next to the National Museum for Women in the Arts, which only opened in 1981. I mean, women only just got the vote and their own art museum in the last century. This century has an African American president. Gay rights have to come next!

Nowhere did I see rabid Republicans (I apologize to any of my readers who might be offended…CW, I miss you! But I don’t apologize for my views.) Perhaps that awesome speech by Rep. Alan Grayson from Florida had them keeping their heads down, but I doubt it. I mean, when THEIR president was in office, I can’t tell you how many times I heard Republicans sternly lecture Democrats that they must support our president and our country, and that it’s our duty to honor our president. Frankly, their response to Obama’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize is shameful.

But this trip to Washington won’t be remembered for the Expo or the gay rights march or even the great meal at Founding Farmers (review to come on Friday)…it will always be remembered as the time my husband and girls missed going to church with the Obamas. Yes, this is the same husband who dragged me kicking and screaming to the Inauguration…Lou goes to church every Sunday, and he had every intention of going this Sunday morning—thinking it would be fun to take the girls to the church across the street from the hotel and the White House, where all the Presidents have gone (even though it’s an Episcopalian church and Lou is Catholic). Well, he fussed around and delayed getting the girls to bed the night before (I called it quits before they did), and they all slept in. The church bells rang at 9 o’clock, and I thought about waking them all up and getting them going, but thought by then it was too late. We finally made it down to breakfast at 10:00, and right away I realized what they had missed. Everyone was streaming into the hotel asking “Did you see him?!” Turns out the Obamas went to the 9 o’clock service…

From now on we’re going to bed early!

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4 Responses to Washington Vibe

  1. Tina October 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Ok, Maria, I’ll bite. I haven’t been to D.C. since the Reagan administration, too. Back then, my family was among the “Reagan Democrats.” I lived in Buffalo, N.Y. then and our fear was the Niagara Falls power plant (then supplying 1/3 of N. America’s power) being hit by The Bomb. But, our fears were obviously unfounded, Reagan was right, and Eastern Europe is now free.

    I’m glad you didn’t see any “rabid Republicans.” I think that proves that they are indeed in the minority and that the majority of Republicans are much quieter and are giving honor to the office of the President, even if they disagree with the man. But, as usual, the loud obnoxious ones get the media attention. As for Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, I have to admit, I think it’s premature. The deadline to nominate someone for the prize was only 10 days after he took office, so somebody nominated him based on only 10 days’ work. Obama has many plans that could lead to a more peaceful world, but he hasn’t had any major results yet. Not saying he can’t succeed, just that it’s way too early to judge.

  2. Carlo October 14, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Maria,
    Did you walk to DC? Rickshaw? Hay Adams Hotel? Sheeesh. Talk about a big carbon footprint! I’ve visited the Capitol under every president since Nixon and it always seems to be a patriotic place. Only a Marxist can think so under this guy in the White House now. You seem to have hit all the sites that would appeal to leftists. That’s your right, but it’s a shame you missed the the War Memorials that recognize the true heroes of our country: the men and women who made it possible for your gay heroes to walk openly in the street. Some 4,000 men and women recently gave their lives bringing some semblance of freedom to women in the Muslim world. Surely that parade could not be held in the streets of Afghanistan. I appreciate the open discussion you afford us with your blog. Best to you!

  3. maria (farm country kitchen) October 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Over all the years I’ve been to Washington, I’ve been to every war memorial there is. I even named my daughter, Maya, after the architect who designed the Vietnam Veteran War Memorial (and there were other influences as well…). However, you can’t see it all in two days — one of which was spent in the convention center on business — that’s capitalist business, thank you very much.

    And tonight I’m having dinner with Rupert Murdoch!

  4. Maria October 15, 2009 at 8:58 am #

    Ultimately, there is no better dining partner than my three year old! 🙂

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