No, not the Thornton Wilder play.
Petula Dvorak deserves a round of applause, hell, a round of Jameson's and Bass at the Dubliner, for her piece in yesterday's Washington Post with the laudably self-explanatory title Don’t slam D.C. for the shutdown, America: You sent these wackos here.
Though I long ago left the burg of my birth and can barely recognize some neighborhoods anymore, I still hold a certain fondness for her. An awkward amalgam of quaint, colonial town and bustling world capital, the city is an endless cornucopia of surprisingly human-scale delights, a city and region beloved and bemoaned by its natives and transplants.
It's them to whom Dvorak gives a voice in her column,the millions of Beltway crawlers and Metro surfers who aren't standing before cameras in the Capitol rotunda, but rolling up lighting cables afterward, or pushing the slop mop to clean up the splattered bullshit.
Or frying the burgers or samosas, stocking the grocery shelves, running the landscape crews, running the lifts to hang a new plane at Air and Space.
Our Town is a land full of people who were born and raised here, or who moved here decades ago to work and raise families: the beloved barber, the Redskins fan who painted his house burgundy and gold, the schoolteacher who stays late every day to conference with working parents.Dvorak is playing the Dona Quixote here, valiantly but vainly fighting to make her countrymen see Our Town as a place of real people instead of the anthropomorphised marble-clad giant of news headlines ("Washington reaches out to Tehran," "Washington refuses Moscow offer," "Washington loses it's way").
The great irony is that the people of Our Town proper — D.C. residents — don’t actually have a vote in the Capitol of Crazy.
But suddenly our parks, streets and playgrounds have been closed by lawmakers who arrive here on Monday afternoon and fly out on Thursday so they don’t have to spend any more time in the political yuckpit they’ve created.
Still, I'm grateful, in the midst of this manufactured madness, someone thought to speak up for my old town. She's a fine, old burg, raised in an era when self-defense against calumny was considered gauche. Thank you, Ms. Dvorak, for standing up for the old girl.