One of the joys and/or responsibilities of living in DC is that you are able/obliged to go to receptions. A reception may mean many things, especially if you are recently married or grew up going to a country club.
In DC, a reception means free food. Food from chafing dishes. Food arranged with grapes or orchids perched in the middle of a large, napkin-lined charger. Food expected to be eaten while mingling with other reception-goes, though how you are supposed to eat and mingle at the same time is beyond me. I usually pretend to read the program studiously while eating the most messy-appearing item, saving myself the bit-off-more-than-I-could-chew-so-sorry-you-had-to-witness-that moment.
But I digress. The reception in question this week was held at the Jack Morton Auditorium at George Washington University (formerly the site of Crossfire, before the squirrel population plummeted due to sound pollution, causing a substantial ecosystem unbalance and several PETA demonstrations). The keynote speaker was Newt Gingrich. You may remember Newt from the Clinton years when he was Speaker of the House, his PhD in American History, or his career as an alternative history novelist. I remember him because his name is Newt.
Newt is a very good speaker (naturally). He was opining to a half-full house of mostly Republicans with leisure to attend a reception on a Friday morning. Newt believes that, in the interest of smart power (using the carrot and the stick), this country should act to make the world a better place for America first. Well, yes, this is our country, the greatest, strongest country in the world, after all. Newt also believes that total war should come only as a last result, as there is no need to communicate with the enemy because they will be destroyed. Well, yes again. And, as a historian, he notes that the U.S. would never have won its independence without the help of France and at least one notable Prussian. Well, yes! I’m agreeing with Newt Gingrich!
Well, I agree with Newt in this instance. There’s a lot (a lot) we don’t agree on, but we both love American history, and we’re both susceptible to the odd reception spread of chafing dishes filled with miniature food items.
There’s hope, America! Yes, we can…be civil! And eat stale, yet fatty, baked goods together! And each take our ideals, render them down until they are palatable to others, then still argue over them, but civilly. And with cocktail napkins.