In The City That Doesn’t Listen To What The People Say

This morning we rode the rails to the SW end of the Northeast Corridor line:  Washington, DC.


A kind gentleman in the Union Station taxi line took our photo.

Here I am in front of the White House.


Secret Service agents looked the other way to allow Jeffrey to put me on the fence.  Jeffrey remembers when the sidewalk wasn’t off limits, when Americans could approach, even enter, the White House.

We contemplated the (George) Washington Monument.


Somehow it doesn’t evoke Washington’s renowned character.

We pedaled to the Capitol.  In Jeffrey’s youth, the People’s House wasn’t closed and barricaded.


That’s the Washington Monument at the other end of the Mall.


Everywhere we went, people talked to us, asked about the Ride, and expressed support for providing counsel and giving a humane reception to refugees and asylum applicants.  A family from India, now living in Connecticut.  A woman who said her first readings in law school were about refugees who were returned by the U.S. to face the persecution they had fled; she personally has helped resettle Syrian refugees, and said it is getting harder and harder to help them.  People from the world over who photographed our sign.

Here are some of our many new friends.


L to R:  Riley, Joey, Keena.  They’re from Tupelo, Mississippi—we were there a few days ago!  Riley is a fine gentleman who believes in being kind to others.  That means that if people fleeing persecution aren’t equipped to apply for asylum without a lawyer’s help, a lawyer should be provided.  Keena agrees.  Like other Mississippians we met on our Ride, they get it!

Pedaling away from the Mall, Jeffrey spotted the Mayflower Hotel.  When he was 18, he won a scholarship and stayed there for a week as the guest of the W. R. Hearst Foundation.  He stopped for a souvenir photo.


L to R:  Joey, Jeffrey

Asmamaw took our photo, and let us take his.


Asmamaw grew up in Ethiopia.  He misses the Old Country, yet is grateful to be here.  He says it’s only fair for asylum applicants to have lawyers.

Our travels show that DC locals, and tourists, get it.  People from Maine to California, from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico, get it.

They get what it takes to be fair to foreigners, to the fearful, to the oppressed.

We saw the White House.  We saw the Capitol.  We thought of the people who work in those buildings on our behalf.  Why don’t they get it?

Americans want to be kind.  They tell us so.  Yet our leaders talk trash and act mean in our names.

Tomorrow we’ll link DC to the rest of our Rides by tagging up in a neighboring state.  And inspired by George Washington, we’ll think more about character.


4 thoughts on “In The City That Doesn’t Listen To What The People Say

  1. Just catching up now on some of your posts – quite an interesting cross section of humankind you encountered in Huntsville!

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  2. Welcome to DC, which was partly carved from my adopted state! Charlottesville would also benefit from hearing your message, btw, especially as the anniversary of August 12 approaches. Thank you for spreading love and human rights!

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