It does my heart good to be in a city where people care passionately about what’s happening around the country and the world, and eager to talk about it.
At lunch in the office dining room, conversation often will turn to some item in the Washington Post or on a news or science TV program.
I can hold my own, as a very happy subscriber to the newspaper myself. I just about have time to at least scan every article on national and international news, as well as regional news, during my bus commutes or occasional trips into DC via the Metro, the subway system. Oftentimes, I find myself reading an entire piece to better understand the recommendations of the various deficit reduction commissions, pleas for ratification of the New START Treaty and tidbits from the leaked State Department cables, among other indepth news analyses.
The Style section often runs a column on free or cheap activities in DC, which is a good thing to keep track of in a city that’s very expensive in other ways.
I’ve discovered that learning more about the world isn’t confined here to just reading, either.
I was amazed at the packed auditorium for a ticketed (not free) presentation at the National Geographic Society by a reporter-photographer team who described the way of life of a nomadic people in the Sahara Desert of Mali and Niger, and the conflicts brewing there over uranium mining, drug and human smuggling and Al Quaeda training camps. And I was especially impressed knowing that the NGS sponsors lots of these types of lecturse, and I can ssume they get similar-sized audiencs.
And then there’s all the talk about policies in the meetings I’ve been privileged to attend this past week as my two co-workers are (1) in El Salvador on a pilgramage remembering those killed there for working with the ppoor and oppressed and (2) attending an anti-racism training.
I’ve been in meetings and on phone calls with people arguing for immigration reform, policies that would lift people who are poor into the middle class, and better transparency among corporations exploiting natural resources in Africa.
It’s all very stimulating and inspiring.