Newsletter Posts

Washington, DC: My Hometown

July 1, 2022

I was born in Washington, DC, when my father was going to college and then medical school after he left the Navy with financial assistance from the GI Bill. I have spent most of my life in Washington, living inside the Beltway, working twice in the federal government and attending law school at night while working on Capitol Hill. My wife worked in twoWhite Houses, at the State Department and the Justice Department, and she ran a federal agency.

I have been to most every Washington museum and federal building. I have attended state dinners, Supreme Court arguments, joint sessions of Congress, presidential inaugurations, and nearly every other type of Washington event. I have bowled in the White House basement bowling alley and watched Fourth of July fireworks from the balcony of the Senate Majority Leader’s Office of the Capitol Building. Our synagogue is located next to the National Cathedral, and I have prayed during memorial services for friends at both houses of worship.

As the Harry Truman line goes, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” But not for those of us who made a life here. Most of us, the professional Washington class, understand each other. In many ways, this is a small company town. Our kids grow up together, attend school together. At times, you find yourself at a Little League game or school event or holiday party chatting with a Cabinet officer or a senator or a media personality. If the Secret Service is at a soccer game because the president’s kid is playing, you don’t make a big deal about it.

I have also lived in New Haven, New York, Moscow, and London. I have visited nearly half the countries in the world. Throughout my life, I have returned to Washington to live. This is my hometown. I have often wished that elected officials and people who do a stint in government would similarly return to their home states after their service here. But I understand, too, that it is the nation’s town.

America is built on a covenant, a covenant of “We, the People.” The people are all of us together. In Hebrew, Artzot Ha-brit: the Lands of the Covenant. Or, the nation’s motto in Latin, e pluribus unum: out of many, one.

I often write about solving the digital divide. It should be understood that I’m also talking about the nation’s political divide. To divide the country is to strike at the core of the American covenant.

That’s all the politics you’ll get from me. We are all Americans.

Happy Fourth of July.