Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Meaning of Mt. Rushmore

I don't know why America works.  Probably I ought to know -- ostensibly,  part of my job is explaining the United States to other people.  Plus, I've been American for a long time.  You'd think I'd have figured it out by now.

"Democracy:  The Meaning of Mount Rushmore" the pamphlet declares.  Joe and I hop around  in front of the monument taking pictures, then sit in the amphitheater to admire the view of the presidents.  A very American moment.  The woman to our left comments to her husband, gesturing toward the mountain, "They could put Reagan in that space there."  Joe and I exchange glances.  "Gift shop?" he asks.  Yes.  Democracy at its finest.

Back in the car, I check my blackberry in between appreciative scans of the South Dakota countryside.  The scenery is soothing; the story out of Egypt less so.  People there have been trying to figure out democracy, too.  I try to imagine some equivalent scene in the United States -- Secretary Hagel letting Congress know it's got 48 hours to pass a budget, or the military would be taking steps. Why doesn't that happen here?  What makes it seem so far-fetched?

We hit Wyoming, my favorite state.  "You could put your blackberry down, you know."  So I do, for a while.  Just a little while.


Joe said...

Take that Kate! :)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank you for this blog. When my son was going through the process of application to become an FSO, I found it both enlightening and comforting -- comforting in the sense that there are people in the foreign service like you. He will become an FSO soon.

Being painfully honest (for me), I felt a bit queasy about reading all your posts. I'm a perfect stranger to you, yet I feel I know you. Perhaps this is just the way of the modern world and blogs. I appreciate your willingness to just put yourself out there, and I suspect there are other, perfect strangers like me who feel they know you. How odd.

Anyway, thanks again. I think I'll continue to follow your adventures from time to time. How can I not, now that I've come to care about a young lady I don't even know ;-)

Katie said...

Thanks very much for such a kind comment; it's nice knowing that people enjoy my posts. I apologize that I don't update the blog as often as I should, but of course you are welcome to read and follow my adventures (such as they are). I'm pretty sure I'm much nicer in writing than in real life, so maybe it's better if you know me this way..?

Very good luck to your son. Please do let me know if I can be of any help to you.