Summer is the big travel season here and a chunk of the tourist influx inevitably comes in the form of school trips. While it is great to see all these wide eyed kids gazing upon the Capitol dome for the first time, many of them, with seeming parental approval, express a total lack of decorum. I regularly witness clumps of high schoolers marching off to visit their senator or congressman in baggy shorts, over sized tee shirts and flip flops! Girls sport the equivalent of beachwear and guys look like they just rolled out of bed and into last week’s laundry. It’s just embarrassing.
Now, I’m no stuffed shirt and am all for freedom of personal expression, etc.; but I firmly believe there are times and places for showing sartorial respect. (See mom, I was listening.)
I actually find it personally offensive that America’s schools and their D.C.-bound chaperons can’t even muster up enough backbone to require decent clothes when walking though the Capitol rotunda, the hallowed ground where presidents and luminaries have lain in state. What happened? I know that my parents would have ground me into the floor if they learned I showed up for a White House tour looking like I was heading out to mow the grass.
Very often, the well-dressed visitors I do see wandering around this city are from other countries. As an American, I am embarrassed when I see this total lack of respect for others and for the dignity of our most significant public spaces. Why not require a collared shirt and khakis or some other pair of nice pants – no jeans please. Dressy shorts are fine if it is warm out, and girls – no halter tops in the Smithsonian, please.
Parents, this is my plea: show your capital city, and your fellow Americans (and everyone else), some respect. (picture courtesy of DCist)