Week 9:
A Celebration, A Life Changing Event, and A Tragedy


Tomlinson Fellow in Representative Government

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

July 9, 2016

Last week was very busy at Congressman David Loebsack’s office. The week started on Monday with a day off due to the 4th of July. I decided to go all out on the 4th of July and celebrate it how one should in Washington D.C. I watched the parade going down Constitution Ave. seeing floats and balloons of everything from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln celebrating the holiday to seeing some of the greatest cartoon characters like Scooby Doo in balloon form. Although I found myself enjoying the Memorial Day parade more since it involved more celebrities, the parade on the 4th was still a very enjoyable event. It also provided us with an opportunity to see how politics can be quickly forgotten for a day. Although most of my work centers around the political debates that are taking place in Washington, non-partisan events like the parade allow us all to shed our political cloaks and instead don the cape of being Americans.

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After the parade I decided to see the fireworks that are set off yearly over the Washington Monument. I had decided to watch the fireworks from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building, but since it had rained earlier in the day and was still sprinkling a bit, the fireworks were much lower and the sky was cloudy, making it impossible to see anything. This was probably the greatest disappointment of my time in Washington.

After the 4th of July celebrations, it was back to work in order to help our government run smoothly. Last week I was also given the opportunity to hear a lecture from one of the most powerful men in the country, House Speaker Paul Ryan. Since this was an invitation-only lecture, I was very lucky and grateful to receive a ticket to attend. Speaker Ryan told us all about his early life and what he wished he knew when he was our age. Cornell has taught me to always pay attention to those who have more life experience than me and to take lessons from their experiences in order to grow as an individual. This was no different while listening to House Speaker Ryan. It was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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Although the first half of my week was a series of celebrations and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, the second half was cloaked in sorrow. Like the rest of the nation, I was heartbroken by the deaths that rocked our society last week. I felt terrible for the loss of life and wanted to bring everyone together. Unfortunately, these are the events that highlight the differences between our two parties. When these differences are highlighted, it becomes harder to remember those issues that we agree on and that work can be done on.

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Cornell helped to get me through the last week. While remembering everything that Cornell has taught me about working together with those whom I disagree with and taking lessons from every experience, I was able to make the most out of all of the events that have defined the week. I only hope that these same lessons will help me get through next week.

 

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Andrew Havens '17

Andrew is a politics major from Hickory Hills, Illinois.