Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sure Do Like The New Neighbors



If you're a Washingtonian, you look at your president a little differently. Sure, he's signing bills and his family is redecorating the White House residence and his staff can't figure out what the last occupants did to the phones -- all that usual new first family on-the-scene stuff. But there's something else intangible about having a new president move into the White House for us folks who call DC home. Every president leaves his own flavor to the place, to the city's psychological stew. You know how you cook up a batch of something and know that it needs just that one more ingredient? Well, having the Obama's added to the mix is kind of like that -- only multiplied by about a thousand. Taking that food metaphor just a step further, the Obama's represent a delicious, filling chili -- while the previous First Family was more like stone soup.

But now, what a breath of fresh air! For the first time in 8 years, we have a First Family here that actually steps foot outside the White House to do more than just catch the helicopter to get to the plane to get out of dodge. (That's right, for two terms the Bushes did not eat out, go to church, or otherwise taint themselves with Washington. It has to be one of the biggest capital city disses on record.) Our new First Lady takes the time to regularly visit our kids at schools and community centers and free pediatric clinics -- just to say "hi". She's seen out digging new garden beds and wearing clothes that don't need to be ironed. The President is hitting burger joints for lunch and sitting in a regular seat to watch the Wizards. A seat where people can walk by and dispute that foul right along side him. Rather than being treated like we were some sort of mob to be quarantined from, these folks actually seem to like us DCers. Turns out they think we are regular folks too. Who knew?

Even in a world of complex diplomacy and economic issues, it seems that being neighborly still counts for a lot.

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