Washington, District of Contrasts (A photo essay)
August 2, 2009
My wife and I took a four day trip to Washington where I was struck by how it was truly a city of stark contrasts. Not that there are more homeless people than other cities its size, but seeing them encamped on benches in a little grove of trees near the Washington Monument or in front of Union Station seemed to me to shout out "for shame".
(Featured: M4 carbine totting Capitol Police Officer R. Doyo (or Doto) giving me the finger and a photo of one famous person)
I wasn’t particularly surprised to see the heavy security presence around government buildings. I have to say it was disconcerting to see U.S. Capitol Police with assault rifles and scopes. Even knowing what happened at the Holocaust Museum and mindful that in these violent times it is necessary, it was also unsettling to see museum security guards actually carrying sidearms.
Free speech in action: here and there we saw a few people protesting, including a group of about 40 people marching for a public option health care program in front of one of the House office buildings.
I did like seeing all the families taking their children to experience American history and democracy instead of the antiseptic Disney World. I wonder how they explained the street people to their children.
(It was 90 degrees and humid and you’ll note that many of the homeless people were bundled up for cooler weather.)
Click images to enlarge and for high resolution photos to see details.
Above: The Obama’s personal chef Sam Kass
, who cooked for the family in Chicago, is in the dark suit. I figured they had to be VIPs to be on the South Lawn of the White House. The executive White House chef is a holdover from the the Bush administration.
Below: White House photo of Michelle Obama and Sam Kass, the later the most famous person I photographed on the trip.
Above: Picking cherry tomatoes in White House vegetable garden. It would be interesting to find out who the man in the tan suit is.
Below: National Museum of American History, "In the slave cabin"
Above: I have little doubt that this smiling M4 carbine totting officer giving me the finger. Click to enlarge and see what you think. I was about 100 feet away but he’s trained to be observant. I think he was sending me a non-too subtle message probably aware I wouldn’t notice until I got home and reviewed the photo. His name, R. Doyo or Doto, is visible on this and another photo.
I don’t begrudge him having a little fun at my expense. Standing in the heat with little else to do but watch for something that he hopes will never happen has to be draining.
American Justice: Cleaning windows in the United States Supreme Court.
Would it be that this was all that was necessary for the learned justices to have clear vision.
There are several additional photos here.