Week 10:
Another Flag at Half Mast

Tomlinson Fellow in Representative Government

Congressional Office of David Loebsack (D-IA 2) | Washington, D.C.

July 16, 2016

Last week was very hectic at the office of Congressman David Loebsack. With Congress about to be in recess for a number of weeks, there were still a number of things that both parties wanted to have considered. One of these major proposals was the implementation of gun control policies like the so-called “no fly no buy” policy, in which people on terror watch-lists would not be able to buy a gun. As it often is before big votes like these, numerous constituents on both sides of the issues wanted to make sure that the Congressman knew how the people back home felt about these particular issues. It was my job as an intern to make sure that these opinions were passed along to the Congressman so that a full opinion could be made. This was a majority of my work last week.

Along with logging mail, I also got the chance to meet a hero of mine last week. Former Senator and 1996 Republican Presidential Nominee Robert “Bob” Dole was making an appearance at a Capitol event focused on raising awareness about pet adoptions and the impact that individuals can have on the lives of animals. Not only were there a number of adorable dogs and kittens on display who desperately wanted to go to a good home, but I also learned how horses were being used to help people with mental disorders and introverted tendencies. Since the horse is one of the more trusting animals and can really understand who a person is, it gives the people a companion that they can form a relationship with, making it easier to form relationships with people like them down the line. This was an incredible method of therapy that I had never heard of before and I was eager to learn all that I could. The highlight of the event was Senator Dole, though. Although Senator Dole is noticeably weaker than when he ran for President in 1996, the aura around him was still one that commanded respect and honor. Senator Dole has always been one of my favorite Presidential nominees who lost the election.13614938_1026451720795451_7110764222202105202_n

While much of my week after the event with Senator Dole continued normally, the weekend was packed with fun. I went to see the new Ghostbusters movie on Saturday and loved it. As someone who was a fan of the original film, it was refreshing to see a new and more modern twist applied to the classic comedy. On Sunday, I partook in my weekly ritual of visiting one of the many fine museums and historic sites that D.C. has to offer. Last weekend was the National Geographic Museum to see an exhibit about life in Ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks have fascinated me ever since I visited Greece, so this was a great opportunity to see up close numerous artifacts that had been buried for millennia like swords and battle helmets. Although the exhibit did not provide as much history about the Greek people as I would have liked, the presence of these artifacts was still a great experience.

Last week was yet another opportunity when all of the flags in D.C. were lowered to half mast. The flags were lowered in honor of the victims who died in the Nice attack last week. This was the fourth time that the flags had been ordered to be at half mast since I started living in D.C., a period of only a few months. It seems like these events are happening more and more often. Only by working together to solve our differences can we make it rare once again to lower all of the flags on federal buildings to half mast. Hopefully the lessons that I have learned both from Cornell and from my time here in D.C. will allow me to do my part toward solving this problem.


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Andrew Havens '17

Andrew is a politics major from Hickory Hills, Illinois.