Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

What's next, locusts?

Here in the capital region, the biggest calamities we experience are usually political in nature. Lately, they have been just in nature.

So far in 2011, the region has been hit by a blizzard, an earthquake and now a hurricane.

OK, maybe what we call a blizzard here is just the status quo in some place like Vermont, and our earthquake would barely earn a mention in California, and the effects we experience from hurricanes seldom come close what folks see on a disconcertingly frequent basis in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

But you have to admit that having all three in the span of seven months is a little weird.

While one veteran Washington journalist opined that it’s a good thing that members of Congress were out of town during the latest twin occurrences (to spare us the long-winded ramblings of news-bite-seeking lawmakers), some of us think it might have been a good thing if they had been here.

We think it might have been a reminder to the powerful — from someone or something — of how insignificant one feels in the face of the unstoppable.

It might have reminded them that power of the political kind is illusory — a lesson this Congress in particular could have used. When federal buildings began to rock, we’ll bet most of them would have run for the door, like everyone else, with nothing else in mind but getting out that door. Once outside, they might have straightened their ties, smoothed their hair and looked around sheepishly.

And as the hurricane approached, as they observed the local folks rushing around for batteries and ice and bottled water, they might have started to realize that "Washington” is more than a metaphor — it’s a place full of real people who roll their eyes when pols speak disparagingly of the place where they live and raise their families.

It might have given them a sense of scale. Caused them to reset. Reminded them that, when it comes down to it, each one of them is just another person among the teeming masses.

On second thought, never mind. An earthquake probably wouldn’t do it. That would take a miracle.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Aug 26, 2011 at 12:13 PM


  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.