King of the Hill, Pauper of the Valley

By Kirsten Hernandez Editor

If you learn anything about D.C. from working in the political realm, it’s that the social circles resemble that of a mid-2000s high school movie. Everyone on what is colloquially known as “The Hill” is doing anything and everything to get their 15 minutes of fame. If you’re not doing that, then you probably don’t have the ego required to make it in professional politics.

As anyone who’s been on the internet in the past three years should know, Democrats have been having a very hard time in Washington recently. The last time the conservatives had control of all three branches of government was 2007, and If you think that the Republican party hasn’t taken advantage of this, think again. During my time on The Hill this summer, family separations at the border began, labor unions had more regulations placed upon them and President #45 scored his second nominee to the nation’s highest court. While Democrats and progressives have done everything from advocating for Trump’s impeachment to authoring bills of resistance, they lack the one thing that matters in Congress: numbers.

While liberals can’t do anything significant to change the tide of the political atmosphere until November, the citizens of Washington, D.C. have cooked up their own resistance tactic.

Alienation.

While the city’s political implants come from all different types of political ideologies, statistics show that the natives to the District are “extremely left-leaning.” Since the District got the right to vote in 1960, it has been the most reliably democratic district in the United States, and voted overwhelmingly (91% to 4%) in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016. The city is home to large minority population, with large African American, disabled, and LGBT communities, all of which are being threatened by the president’s current policies.

Wherever you go, you are welcomed with a plethora of rainbow flags and “Hate has no home here” signs. This summer in particular, the saying “Families belong together” was plastered every place possible. The most popular parts of the city shut down for the annual pride parade, where “Fuck Donald Trump!” was a rallying cry. The citizens of D.C. are the ideal image of what it means to resist.

The liberal atmosphere in the city has a strong influence on how democrats view themselves on the Hill. Office happy hours within the California House delegation feature copious amounts of Republican bashing, and no, the staff of the 14 Republican congressmen weren’t invited to the party. In fact, many events that in the past had been considered bipartisan have quietly become closed to members of the Grand Ol’ Party. The justification?

“As a progressive, I can’t say that I ever really enjoyed hanging out with conservatives, but I considered it the price of doing business,” says a fellow summer House intern on the condition of anonymity. (The only thing more common than attention seekers on the Hill are mandatory non-disclosure agreements.)

“Now? I can’t spend time with people who actively work to [ensure] the success of a president that they themselves don’t even believe in. It’s foolishness.”

Every little slip-up from a conservative politician created storms in the clique known as the Democratic delegation’s email thread. Articles such as The Cut’s “Trump Staffers Can’t Get Laid” were used as a taunting device for months, and when Congressman Dana Rohrabacher from Orange County was implicated in a Sacha Baron Cohen gag stating that he was in favor of arming preschoolers with military grade firearms, we considered it a personal victory in a sea of electoral defeats.

While a lot of Trump staffers would never publicly state that they feel ostracized, their mannerisms aren’t of a party that has enormous political power. During my time in a non-partisan fellowship, typical introductions and pleasantries were made difficult by the fact that many people didn’t want to state that they were indeed conservative, even though the name of our office was printed on all of our ID badges. In an article printed in Politico Magazine, a map was included to show that Trump staffers went as far as to create communities of staffers on the border of the city in order to (ironically) create a “safe space” free of judgements by outsiders.

While funny anecdotes on the dating difficulties of Trump staffers and videos of presidential advisors getting publicly ostracised kept me and many others entertained on numerous occasions during my internship, we have to think, what kind of move are we really trying to make? Despite the resistance movement getting stronger and stronger, Donald J. Trump still sits in the oval office, Republicans are still passing oppressive bills and every day a new challenge to our democracy comes forth. If we want to stick to the analogy of high school movies, the GOP is the bully that you make fun of with your friends, but that still has the strength to throw you in the trash can every day after school. I’m not trying to make the argument for civility, but bad sound bites and silly articles aren’t the way to taking back the House. If you want to kick them where it actually hurts, go fucking vote.

That’s how we get the last laugh.