Slow Improvements like Local Construction

Days rolling by like local construction
The cranes try to scrape some more sky before quitting time
Work on it, work at it, work, but it’s never done.

Local construction is something the natives of DC are aware of nearly 24/7. Now, even the tourists are acutely aware of the never-ending process, as literally miles of scaffolding block their view of the Capitol building, inside and out.

Until recently, I viewed the local construction as nothing but a nuisance. Even on the street on which I live, a quarter of our parking is blocked by it. I figured it’s just a con of being an aspiring native of DC. But then my favorite band, Relient K, released a new album and my perspective changed.

Fix the car, fix the house
Fix the flaws in my self
It’s never done, no no
It’s never done, no no
Like local construction
It’s never done

Their song Local Construction takes a lesson from the annoyance that DCers live with every day. It’s a compelling message. They are reminded by the constant noise of improvement all around them that they are a work in progress. Like the sidewalks being jackhammered, Eastern Market filled with cranes, and the Capitol Building dressed in scaffolding, we, just like the City, are a work in progress that is never quite done.

Last week I wrote a piece despairing about the death of the two-party system. While I believe there is a necessary place for realism in our view of politics, I think we could all take a lesson from our local construction.

Realize that you as a person are a constant work in progress. You’re never done. In the same way, all the people in DC – yes, all – are imperfect individuals. Their “construction” may be a few years in progress behind yours. And even if, like the Capitol Building, it seems the annoyance will never end, they will be improved over time.

If we all approached each other with our own cranes and jackhammers and clamour of construction in mind, we will inevitably treat each other with the respect a fellow human deserves. That, in the end, is more important than any political agenda.

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