A Sad State of Affairs

Posted on September 7, 2012


If you read my Best and Worst cities to run in post on Wednesday you probably figured out I was in Washington DC. It was a very mixed experience on my part. In one sense it had a ” London” feel to it with all the old buildings and history but something just didn’t feel “right”. I finally figured it out last night after I finished my run and was having dinner.
I was staying at the Courtyard on F Street which wasn’t too far from the National Mall and the Smithsonian. After I had finished my run and cleaned up a bit I took a quick walk for some dinner..I was already a bit emotional from my run having passed the Washington Memorial and the WWII Memorial when I realized I was standing in front of the Ford Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. I turn and across the street is the house where President Lincoln was treated and later died. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I just stood there amazed. And that’s when the “something off” struck me. Right next to the house where Lincoln died is a little breakfast diner called “Lincoln Waffles”. Yes: commercialism..It’ s one thing to create a diner or cafe and try to provide meals to the office worker who passes by on their way to one of the hundreds of government offices nearby or to one of the thousands of tourists on their way to the museums or monuments. But in my opinion trying to achieve success by commercializing an historic event is just wrong.
I can see the discussion in some 5th grade classroom now:
Student: ” Well we had Lincoln Waffles then went to the Washington monument, WWII and Vietnam War Memorials”.
Teacher “Tell us, what did you come away with after that experience?”
Student: “I got a stove-pipe hat from the cafe and a bunch of flags from the war things. They were pretty dumb but you could skip rocks in that cool pond”
Teacher: reaching in desk drawer for bottle of vodka

Back to my rant now…. yes, commercialism is rampant in Washington, DC. From George Washington bobble head dolls, Obama t- shirts, plastic obelisks, memorial snow globes and reproduction constitutions and declarations our nation’s capital has been reduced to commercial profiteering. I only wish i had more time so I could visit the stuff that really matters and to actually take in Ford’s Theater and other relevant historical sites and locations.

Next week: Boston. I’m sure nothing there has been commercialized 😉