Phillip Tutor: (In the voice of Nixon) I am not a tourist
Nov 01, 2012 | 1916 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pundits say Washington is broken, a dysfunctional mess. They have a point.

Washington also is a uniquely American world unto itself, a world of officials, foreign embassies, monuments, protestors, government buildings, museums, historical artifacts and patriotic symbols.

It is a city of cool — cool sights, cool architecture, cool adventures.

The politics? Not so much.

The next time you’re in Washington, make sure you see …

The painting of the Jacksonville State University campus that hangs on the wall inside U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers’ office.

The snipers perched atop the White House.

The old U.S. Supreme Court chambers, where, among other things, the infamous Dred Scott case was argued.

The small contraptions affixed to the backs of chairs on the floor of the House of Representatives that congressmen use to key in their votes.

The statue of Helen Keller, one of Alabama’s two statues at the National Statuary Hall. (The other is Joseph Wheeler.)

The office of U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. His office, No. 343 in the Cannon House Office Building, is on the same floor and darn near Rogers’ office, No. 324. The juxtaposition is, well, beguiling.

The missing flag from outside Rogers’ office. (Each office has two; last week, Rogers’ American flag was there; the other, possibly a POW flag, was missing.)

The nattily dressed foreign diplomats who, even on weekends, are easy to spot — especially when they sit on park benches across the street from the Capitol and talk in their native tongues.

The desk in the old Senate chambers that signifies where Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was nearly caned to death in 1856 by Congressman Preston York of South Carolina.

The interior artwork of the Capitol Rotunda.

The star inlaid on the floor of the Capitol Rotunda that incorrectly marks the center of Washington and correctly marks the spot where the coffins of those who lie in state are placed.

The Senate bean soup.

The William Tecumseh Sherman statue.

The ubiquitous, kitschy bobble-heads of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, which are on sale in hotels, gift shops and street-side vendors.

The small plaques on the floor of the old Senate chamber that signify the former desk locations of notable senators, such as Abraham Lincoln of Illinois.

The man who stands outside the Capitol, singing, with two Bibles in one hand and his other resting on a sign: “Cast a VOTE for the BIBLE … The Light House.”

The multiple statues and busts of John C. Calhoun, the ignoble senator from South Carolina for whom Calhoun County was re-named.

The room where the all-powerful Senate Appropriations Committee meets, adorned with large chandeliers, two floor-to-ceiling windows, ornate paintings on its walls and a beautiful wooden table complete with small nameplates for committee members and a gavel resting at the chairman’s chair.

The Capitol statue of Ronald Reagan, which is separated from its monolithic base by a sliver of rubble taken from the Berlin Wall.

The wideness of Pennsylvania Avenue; it’s not quite the Champs Elysee in Paris, but it’s close.

The International Spy Museum, because spies are .007-cool.

The “Taxation Without Representation” slogans that adorn every District of Columbia license plate.

The thousands of District residents —U.S. citizens, most — who represent three electoral votes in presidential elections, but do not have voting representation in Congress.

RFK Stadium.

The plethora of Redskins jerseys, all bearing No. 10 and the name “Griffin III” on the back.

The L’Enfant Plaza stop on the Washington subway, because what other city would have a train station named after the renowned French architect who designed D.C.’s unique street grid?

Oh, yeah. And the Watergate Hotel.

Gotta see that.

Phillip Tutor — ptutor@annistonstar.com — is The Star’s commentary editor. Follow him at Twitter.com/PTutor_Star.
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