Back in DC

I was working my way through the airport yesterday (horrible day of travel, that I complained about elsewhere), and I handed over my boarding pass and ID to the screener. He saw I was heading to Washington, DC, and commented on how sorry he was that I had to go there. “What a terrible place,” he said.

It’s bothered me ever since. First of all, I happen to like Washington, DC.  I like the museums and the monuments, and I’ve found it to be pretty walkable. But – more than that – there’s something about it that brings out my patriotic streak. Every time I come here, I’m struck by the idea that people want to make things better. They don’t agree on how to do it, but they want the same goal.

I don’t know if things have really changed, or if I’m just letting the usual stuff affect me more, but it saddens me to hear people disparage a whole city  or a whole group of people because they’ve bought into rhetoric. When I see comments like this, it really concerns me:

The Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services? “An innovation center at CMS is an oxymoron,” responded a  Republican aide, before adding a personal barb aimed at the attendees: “Though it’s great for PhDs who come to Washington on the government tab.”

I’m not a PhD, but I still think there’s room for good research funded by public finds. There’s not a lot of money to be made from health services research, for instance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.

Of course, maybe I’m touchy, because as I speak, I’m a researcher come to DC to attend a roundtable discussion.  More on that later.

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