While many college students spend their spring breaks in tropical lands and various states of altered consciousness, I spent the beginning of my spring break on a networking trip to Washington, D.C. The trip was sponsored by my college, and many of our meetings were with alumni from our school, who graciously took time out of their busy schedules to meet with us, answer questions, and share their experiences and advice.
The capitol city moves at a greatly different pace than New York; yet I found the slower pace oddly attractive because the energy and people there seem motivated by something else. Perhaps they are motivated by work, a desire to be a force for change in the world and restore America to some of its former glory. That Washington is a city focused on work is strikingly apparent to a New Yorker in the quiet metro, the constant sound of pages turning in the metro, on the sidewalks and in the parks, and even in the quality of the free newspapers passed out at metro entrances (everyone on the metro was reading or working – even the bottom of the new journalism barrel has decent standards).
But it was not in our spectacular capitol city that I truly saw America – the six hour drive home was most enlightening and insightful.
Today, I saw America…
In the form of a red prop plane spiraling through the clouds over cornfields in Delaware.
In a factory billowing smoke in New Jersey.
In the people on the DC metro.
In the ideas I heard in the corridors
And the people I broke meals with.
The professors I talked with
and the students who worked hard so that we might make good use of our Spring Break.
But a capitol experience shouldn’t be necessary for me to “see America.” I should see my Country everyday, in every town, every person, every job, and every liberty loving idea. This is my goal, my purpose – to find and define America, what it means to be an American in terms of the ideas and philosophies that our Country was founded on, and the path our Country is on.