Internships:The Art of the Possible

As a political science major at Ohio Wesleyan University, I had had, by the fall of my senior year, enough of the classroom. I was maxed out on theory and history. It was time for some reality, a little fieldwork. Fortunately, a professor in the department arranged for me to serve as an intern in Washington, DC, working for the House Republican Conference. (I got paid, too!) It&#39s a department in the United States House of Representatives that helps smooth the differences between Senate bills and House bills. The two bodies, which make up the U.S. Congress, have to reconcile differences in similar bills so that they can be passed into law. The office also was a cheerleading service for the House Republicans.

I don&#39t care much for conservative ideologies or, for that matter, the Republican Party, but my four months in the nation&#39s capital were great. There is nothing quite like walking through the halls of Congress and bumping into famous senators and representatives. And it was cool witnessing the entire legislative process, going to the respective chambers to see congressmen debate the great issues of the day. The senators were like mini-presidents, moving along with adoring entourages and issuing canned, pompous remarks that were supposed to pass as candor. In Washington, there seems to be more concern with taking care of one&#39s ego than with tending to the issues facing the nation.

I had the added kicker of living with a very political couple, who lived in Georgetown, the swank enclave for movers-and-shakers. The wife was the White House social secretary for Hillary Clinton, and the husband was a correspondent for The Sunday Times of London, considered The New York Times of England. I was going out with their daughter. Being well connected, and social, they threw great parties. Many leaders of government and the media would drop in for dinner and drinks. Some came by regularly to play tennis or to go for a swim. I learned more about how Washington works from observing them and eavesdropping on their conversation than why I absorbed from books on the art of the possible: politics. &#39 David W. Major

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