Today, apparently, it is International Democracy Day. A colleague had a trip to DC planned with some students to commemorate the day with a convocation of parliamentary leaders from various newly formed democracies and a few US congresspeople. He invited me to tag along and as I was up for any trip at that point, I agreed. I have to say that I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into, and an hour into this, I’m still not sure. Speaker Boehner made an appearance first thing this morning and then likely sped off to a million other things he has to do today.
I am unsure whether it is indicative of American politics or an issue of language or the long fights many of these leaders have endured, but I am most stuck by the disparity in charisma. The Americans are brief, tanned, and speak loudly and to the audience. Most of the foreigners lack that ease and connection.
It’s a novel experience, at any rate.