A walk through the National Mall in Washington, D.C., gives an unmistakable impression of a nation in decline, a country that can’t spare the money to even trim and maintain its former glory.
The grass is worn away, sidewalks are crumbling, reflective pools are filthy and infested.
The Associated Press laid all this out in a story last week. It described how Congress lavishes millions to keep the Capitol grounds lush and manicured, but can’t fine enough money to keep the National Mall clean and repaired. It explained how the District of Columbia has no powerful friends in Congress, no favors to trade.
I remember the tremendous pride I felt in Washington when I was a child and my parents brought the family there to visit. The broad lawns, the monuments, the sparkling fountains, the brilliant museums — it was a vision.
I’m going to take my niece to Washington in September, because there’s still so much to see and do there. And I’m going to apologize for what my generation has let happen to the National Mall. I’ll tell her how it used to look, how the Mall and the reflecting pools really were something to behold, back in the day.
And I’ll hope that Congress will develop some regard for the National Mall, the public whose patrimony it is and the image this fine nation ought to project to its own citizens and to the world.