Wherein my dad, daughter, and I get some exercise (of our free speech rights, that is)
My dad & daughter the younger flew out last Friday to the Nation’s Capitol, Washington DC, where I met them for Memorial Day weekend.
Among the several things I do, I run a small press with my dad. It’s essentially a vehicle to publish his writing, the latest of which is a collection of light verse written during the Trump administration titled Trump Über Alles: Rhymes for Trying Times ← buy that sucker on Amazon or Powells! 😂
Aside: I am against Trump and everything he represents. If you’re not and you’re reading this, well… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
We did some sightseeing while we were there, of course (so much to see and do, if you’ve never been to DC I highly recommend it!), and met up with my friends Kyle & Adriana (& Ollie the Collie!), but the main purpose of the trip was so my dad could read from TÜA in front of the White House.
For those who’ve never been, Pennsylvania Ave between Lafayette Square and the White House is blocked off to car traffic and is often pretty crowded with tourists snapping selfies with the White House in the background. Being there on Memorial Day weekend, it was especially busy. Dozens of people crowded the fence, speaking every conceivable language, snapping photos and milling about. It was exactly the scene we’d hoped to encounter!
Dad chatted with a man selling buttons from a small cart labelled the “Anti-Trumpism Bandwagon.” He also struck up a conversation with a Black woman who told us she is part of the modern Confederate Army. Beyond the fact that creating a provisional government within and separate from the United States smells a lot like treason, I’d love for someone to explain to me how it makes sense for a Black American to want to preserve Southern “heritage.” Having just driven through the Deep South, I don’t get it and would honestly love someone to help it make sense.
At high noon, we commenced with the reading. Standing on the edge of the sidewalk in front of the White House, my dad spoke his truth about Trump and his cronies, pillorying them with pith.
Despite Dad’s best efforts, the spontaneous crowd of cheering admirers didn’t materialize, but a couple of tourists did stop to snap a photo of this colorful American exercising his freedom of speech.
At one point, a local rode up on a bicycle with an enormous speaker blasting “Cha Cha Slide,” a song to which crowds are known to spontaneously dance. And dance they did. Repeatedly!
Undeterred, we moved our event over to the Lafayette statue at the center of the eponymous square. After a few more poems, the sun got the better of us and we finished up at a park bench under some trees.
Dad seemed pretty pleased about how it all went. Success!
Afterwards, we headed up to the National Zoo for a bit, lingered around some Mexican food, and took a stroll past where I lived from 1998 to 2003.
Erin really seemed to vibe with DC. Another subplot of the trip was her checking out DC as a possible place to work and/or do grad school in a couple of years. There is a lot to recommend DC as a place to live when you’re in your early working years. I had a blast there back in the day and I can see her doing the same!