Thursday, January 7, 2010

Senator Franken Takes Citizens Capitol Tour

This is one of the many reason I like that this guy is a United States Senator:

Like thousands of other Americans, my wife and I signed up months ago for a tour of the U.S. Capitol building during the Christmas holidays. Back in our twenties we used to ride a lot of Amtrak; with a couple of hours to kill changing trains at Union Station, we used to love walking up to the Capitol building and roaming its beautiful interior unattended. Since 9/11, you can only tour the building with a guide, but the elegant new Capitol Visitors Center offers a partial consolation.

This afternoon, after watching the required orientation film that precedes the tour, I'm exiting the theater when I hear Al Franken's distinctive bass voice right in front of me. It can't be him: why would Franken be on a public tour? I edge around for a glimpse and confirm it's the Senator. I have a split second to decide whether to say something or leave the man alone on his day off. I choose the latter and we end up in different tour groups.

About halfway through our tour, our guide asks if any of us noticed that Senator Franken was in the theater with us. He mentions that its very unusual for Senators to take the public tours when they can easily use their position to schedule V.I.P tours that are able to visit parts of the building off-limits to the general public. Our guide clearly thinks it's pretty cool that Franken has chosen to see the U.S. Capitol from the perspective of ordinary Americans. I agree.

Since I didn't take the opportunity on the tour, I'll take it here: Senator Franken, thank you. Thank you for being genuine and courageous, for being a voice that cuts through the bullshit that seems to be the stock and trade of most people in Congress, for doing the things we'd like to think we'd do if we were in the Senate.
I obviously can't even imagine that I will one day be a United States Senator but if I were, I'd model myself off of this nerdy little man.


Leslie Parsley said...

Neat story. Wish we had more like Franken.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

What makes Franken able to keep his integrity is he doesn't need the job or the celebrity and perks.

I would support him for president should he decide that's what he wanted.

KA said...

@Truth 101,

What an excellent point you raise...Senator Franken certainly does NOT need any the job, the prestige, the perks, or the power (let's be honest, he had more power before he was in the Senate).

Perhaps, just perhaps, he has some pure idealism that motivated his decision.