Washington D.C can be quite confusing to foreigners visiting the U.S and even confusing to Americans who never took a government class in high school or college. Lucky enough, my wisdom and many weeks of experience (four, to be exact) in Washington D.C may help the troubled folks. The District of Columbia is neither a state nor a territory and is supervised under the U.S Congress. The constitution appointed Congress to establish a national capital that will be the seat of power among the federal system of government. The swampy area which is Washington D.C has its own municipal government with a city council comprised of eight “wards” or districts. Historically, Washington D.C was a compromise between the northern states and the southern states after the victory of the Revolutionary War. The south was worried that if the capital was seated in a northern state, the north would have too much power and vice-versa with the northern states. Complicated as it is, citizens of D.C have had a hard time electing officials to the government being that D.C is under the jurisdiction of Congress. Citizens of D.C were denied the right to democratic representation even though they paid income tax and served in the military. From the 23rd amendment, D.C was able to receive electoral votes in representative elections but gaps in accountability and democratic representation is still up for debate.
Although we do not hear much about D.C politics, they do still have their political drama. One political issue that is D.C based is concerning how congressman can afford housing in the city. Being that Washington is so expensive, pay raises for elected officials have been up for debate between politicians, bureaucrats, and the American people. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is leading this policy, believes that congressman and other elected officials would be better suited for the job if they had enough money to afford housing. This is not only concerning the federal government who control D.C, but also to the city council who have had a hard time with city housing with prices in the millions in many residential areas. Both sides of the arguments are compelling and should be understood carefully. Being that Congressman make 175k a year in salary, that is still not enough to support D.C’s intense housing situation. Being that D.C is one of the most expensive places in the world, Congressman living in D.C should be focusing more on their job rather than if they can afford their housing. According to the Washington Post, 1 in 5 homes in D.C are over a million dollars, which is insane! Rep. Chaffetz occasionally sleeps in a cot in his office which struck the sympathies of the American public and American D.C lawmakers. The con side of the argument is what the legislation entails and how the public reacted to it. Being that he is a Republican, twitter took the field and called out how if he wants to subsidize Congressman and their staffers, then they should give up their IPhone as Republicans told the public who did not have healthcare. So since elected officials are public servants, why should the public give them privileges over the public they serve? The conversation is still up for debate. However, the D.C economy is getting better and wages are rising, hopefully the optimism will remain.
Since my last post, I have learned that I can actually multi-task. That sounds humorous, but take this in a serious way without laughing. I am so bad at multi-tasking that I cannot even drink water and walk at the same time. I found out the hard way when my supervisor gave me around 4 assignments in one day and I had to finish two by the work day’s end. Given, I had an hour and a half, therefore I went into fight or flight mode, turned on two computer screens, and went into the zone like Larry Fitzgerald against the Packers. Jokes aside, tough situations lead to progress and every mistake I have made so far has been a learning experience. When a task needs to get done, you will find traits about yourself you did not know were there and I am happy that I am becoming both a better student and a better professional.