One of the great things things about living in Washington, D.C., is that people come here from all over the world to visit. For some, it’s a life’s goal to stand in front of the White House and take in its iconic power and history, regardless of who is living there at the time.
Others simply take in the city, exploring our monuments and parks, famous sites and historic places. Nothing is quite a beautiful as the city awash in Cherry Blossoms.
Spring and Summer are the big travel seasons 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. Clumps of high schoolers march off to visit their senator or congressman in baggy shorts, over sized tee shirts and flip flops. Flip flops.
Girls sport the equivalent of beachwear and guys look like they just rolled out of bed and into last week’s laundry. To be frank, it’s embarrassing and disrespectful. Now, we’re not stuffed shirts, far from it. However, there are times and places for showing sartorial respect. (See mom, we listened.)
How is it that America’s schools and their DC-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?
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 in fact from other countries. As Americans, we are embarrassed when we see this total lack of respect for others and for the dignity of our most significant public spaces. Why not require a simple collared shirt and khakis? Dressy shorts are fine if it’s warm out, and girls – no halter tops in the Smithsonian, please.