Etgar 36

Day 34- Washington, DC

– Jamie Miller

On our second full day in D.C. we started our day speaking with the Heritage Foundation about an imperative Issue… The economy. Although they are non partisan think tank, they promote the conservative right approach to solving our societies issues. 

IMG_2028 IMG_2029

A representative of the Heritage Foundation James Sherk rebutted the arguments made by United for a Fair Economy through many graphs and statistics.  He claimed that in many of the graphs shown by the left have  scales that are off; A myriad of factors, like depreciation and inflation, contribute to the incorrectness of the graphs. Although both agree that the rich are getting richer, unlike United for a Fair Economy,  The Heritage Foundation believes that the poor too are gaining wealth. Therefore they support the conservative right, “top down” approach which means if the rich are putting money to the economy, the money will naturally trickle down into the poor.  Following this interesting meeting we had lunch at Union Station. Our group indulged in food from sushi to chipotle to crepes to subway. We then headed to our pro choice meeting with Judy Waxman who ironically is staff member Rebecca’s aunt. This meeting was directly opposed to our meeting held one month earlier with Andrew Smith from Pro-Life. The wording of these two opposing philosophies illustrates the importance of presentation. Pro-choice is not pro abortion; it is just for the right of the women to chose what happens to her body. As Bill Clinton said, abortion should be, “safe, legal, and rare.”

IMG_2032 IMG_2034 IMG_2036

Mrs. Waxman pointed out the hypocrisy of her opponents who oppose both contraceptives, abortions, as well as proper sex education. This is a problem that originates far back in history. Women have always tried to control pregnancy with herbs, rocks, and more. Contrary to popular belief, only in recent years have Christians opposed the total restriction of contraceptives. Therefore, suppressing the right to chose what happens to ones own body, Mrs. Waxman believes, originates from the belief the women aren’t smart enough to make intelligent decisions for their own bodies. This develops into the larger issue of whether companies can circumvent the law by claiming that it is against their religion. This applies to catholic charities and companies like Hobby Lobby who refuse to provide birth control but in a larger sense to companies who refuse certain peoples like LGBTQ+ because they believe it is their first amendment right. The battle between religious freedom and moral, legal obligation will continue to be a battle fought in our country in the following years. 

Directly after the pro-choice meating we we gathered with NORML, A.K.A. the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. NORML has been fighting for full legalization since the 70s, however the movement has just picked up. They believe that legalization will end the “prohibition” on a not harmful drug. It is also thought that the legalization will clear up the prison system by  decriminalizing it; For addicts, rehab is more helpful than prison.

IMG_2038 IMG_2039

Following NORML we ate dinner at Mr. Smiths where the majority of us had mouthwatering burgers or grilled cheeses.

On our way to the Orthodox temple Billy surprised us with ice cream. It was delicious! Subsequently, we arrived early at the orthodox temple. Regardless of our previous Jewish backgrounds,  this experience was unlike anything any of us had seen before. Notwithstanding the claim that the orthodox follow the Jewish religion word for word, I felt that women are excluded from practicing the Jewish religion properly. A key belief in Judaism is community and because the women were excluded, most prayed individually. Despite the obvious sexism, The service was interesting and enjoyable. Finally, we ended our night exploring the memorials our great capital has to offer. We started at the World War II memorial. Compared to the single pagoda  World War I monument, this one is gigantic because the citizens of this generation were known as the selfless generation.

IMG_2048

During World War II, the American people mobilized in all aspects of life which is the reason America is where we are today. For all of us, that is a lot to live up to. Secondly, we explored the Korean War memorial. This Cold War proxy war ended with a demilitarized zone on the 38th parallel which is why there are 19 soldiers but a black wall next to the soldiers reflects the soldiers.

IMG_2053 IMG_2056

Next we visited be Lincoln Monument where we stood watching over the reflecting pool, staring out to the Washington Monument, envisioning Martin Luther King Jr.’s influential “I Have a Dream…” speech.

IMG_2060 IMG_2061 IMG_2062 IMG_2066

Lastly we visited the Vietnam memorial. This was Maya Lynn’s first memorial which shaped the design of memorials forever. One thought is that the black wall represents the black scratch in history. On each slab, the names of the dead are listed.

IMG_2073 IMG_2075IMG_2057IMG_2052

As you go on the wall grows and grows until it engulfs without you realizing, just like the war did to America. Seeing each name and realizing all the people affected by the death was really devastating. Viewing the monument was the last step in this journey that lead to the realization that young adults, around our ages, have played a huge role in our country’s history.

IMG_2078