There is a difference between Washingtonians and people who are from DC. The difference is significant and the divide between them is even more so. Washingtonians are the fleeting men and women who the politicians and pundits are always talking about. They typically stay as long as their terms, campaigns, or contracts last and then they delightfully depart without even a glance back in their rear view.
The people who are from DC are often lost in the shadow of Washingtonians. These are the men and women who no one is ever talking about. These are the forgotten few who will not surrender to the hills of Prince George’s County and those who have been reluctantly forced to those hills paining to one day be back inside the city they love.
Branches cause shade
The ever-expanding bureaucratic branches of our government have usurped a once proud city and have turned it into their own political playground. Washingtonians typically hold zip-codes from the swanky Northwest Wards, or from Maryland and Virginia. They claim DC because it sounds more regal than the boondocks of Maryland or less dull than the countryside of Virginia. They work within the District lines and then retreat back to their suburban homes and forget about the District as quickly as possible.
People who are actually from the District can’t forget the District, nor would they ever want to. These are the men and women who know our traffic would be much better if people from Maryland and Virginia actually learned how to drive. These are the few who first experienced our government through the Summer Jobs Program, the institute Mayor Marion Barry crafted only to see those jobs now turned over to touring interns who think it will be fun to live in DC for a summer while padding his or her resume.
Gentrification without Representation
The men and women of the District have built force fields against “retreaters traffic” and the Metros congested cars but the kryptonite to their armor is gentrification. As the next generation of young working Washingtonians enter a rejuvenated government they begin to “brave” the neighborhoods that were once infamous for adding to the toll of our Murder Capital. Now a different type of white floods the streets of Chocolate City and as the flood occurs natives of DC are forced to move further East or further South and in many cases they end up doing both.
With gas prices high and metro prices rising the economical and environmentally correct thing to do is move into the city. This comes at a cost, our city – known for its resilience, soul, and revelry – reshapes. For the better or for the worse our city has only begun to transform.
The good news is – our hands will reshape it. To preserve our city we must talk to one another. All must understand the plight of what it means to be from DC. We do so by showing empathy and proving it through our kindness. We must always remember that every person in the Capital reflects our nation. Whether you are a Washingtonian or District of Columbian you must believe in her as sure as you believe in the Cherry Blossoms of the Spring, or as sure as you believe that the Big Chair will always be there.