Keep in mind that Washington, D.C. is largely Democratic. It has been for, well, forever. This place was known as Chocolate City at one time. And true Washingtonians do still lovingly call it that at times. It’s a liberal town.
According to the 2006 census figures, Washington has about 581,530 residents. About 20% are under 18, less than 13% are 65 and over. And less than 39% are white. Over 56% are black, the rest being Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc. It’s a young and colorful town.
And we’re pretty middle class. In 2004 the median household income in Washington D.C. was reported at $46,211/year, which is really hard for me to believe, because my rent for a one bedroom apartment was at least $1,500/month, and that $46k only works out to about $3,850/month.
Washington is a strange place, because D.C. is the Nation’s Capital, but not everyone’s life focuses on the business of the government. We all support the government in a way, but when you’re working at a restaurant or a theater or a school, you don’t think of yourself as a government contractor. And then there are all of the non-profits that are based here, doing good work, and it is beneficial to be headquartered close to the seat of power, but they are certainly not working FOR the government. So we end up with all these special interest groups, artisans, chefs, teachers, waiters and entertainers mulling about this city that was founded only for the sake of running our government. How strange!
Stranger still, we odd fellows have come to love this town, to own it, and we feel we’ve earned a dedication to it more than the politicians that come and go, at the whim of their electorate.
George W. Bush was not at all like us. But this Obama, we feel like he is like us. There are Kenyan sons dancing in nightclubs in Adams Morgan. There are Kenyan fathers driving taxi cabs. And there are young couples like Michelle and Barack at Howard University. And at Georgetown Law School. And doing community organizing in Anacostia.
Some of us Washingtonians were beginning to wonder if there were enough people like us out there in the rest of the country any more to send us a President that understands the city he is sent to live in. Or would we only be happy in the perimeter world of ethnic restaurants, NGOs and grad school programs?
Well, it has happened! America is finally as young and colorful as its capital. We can’t wait to welcome Obama and his family to their new home.