Across the fruited plain comes word that Washington, D.C. is now considered the worst place to live in America. From the National Review to The Hill, many a media outlet is posting the result of a recent YouGov poll that puts the District dead last, but no one is bothering to answer the question of why.
Let’s Get Personal
As a young married couple, more than three decades ago, my newly minted husband and I had a decision to make: Where in the world did we want to live? Looking at a map, we considered many options. There was New York where my husband hailed from (too expensive), back to New England where we met (not terribly friendly), or stay in Pittsburgh, PA (grew up there, done that). Scanning further south, we happened upon the District of Columbia and its environs.
D.C. offered a temperate climate, a beautiful downtown unlike any other, a vibrant performing arts community, and lots to do. The only downside we calculated was the lack of a baseball team. But that could change, couldn’t it?
Ding, ding, ding, we had a winner.
WTTG-TV (now Fox 5) offered me a job, and we packed up our U-Haul and high-tailed it to Washington. We are still there. Over the last thirty years, D.C. has grown exponentially. In particular, the traffic has become untenable, and the performing arts did not turn out to be as anticipated. Outrageously expensive and centered downtown at the eternally under-construction Kennedy Center became more of a drag than an opportunity. Want to take your mother to the opera? Get ready to fork over a grand between good seats, dinner, and parking.
But hey, we did get our baseball team. And you cannot beat Washington in the spring: cherry blossoms, redbuds, forsythia – it is as if the whole brown world turns to living color every April.
So, what is the problem here? One cannot overestimate the effect COVID-19 has had on the city. Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser is one heavy-handed politician. She makes Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan look like a libertarian. Washington’s revelry – the bars, the performances, the eating establishments – were closed. Those “happening” places like Adams-Morgan became the backdrop to forced political virtue signaling. “Raise your fist to show solidarity to the cause or else” does not make for a pleasurable dining experience. Senators such as Rand Paul (R-KY) and his wife, Kelley, were terrorized while walking the District’s streets. The same held true for elderly out-of-towners sporting a MAGA hat. District of Columbia police looked on and did little under this mob rule, so the empty streets became emptier, and D.C. took on a ghost-town look.
Then Came the Guard
The transition from President Trump to President Biden literally brought tens of thousands of National Guardsmen to the capital city. Forget the homeless; now we had the Guard sleeping in parking garages. Up went the razor wire, the Jersey barriers, and what was once an inspiring tableau of freedom and liberty became a military fortress.
Most of this is still there.
It does not take much to ruin a vibrant living environment. Fill its streets with mean people, top it off with a heavy military presence, and shut down everything in sight – it is a recipe for disaster. Washington, D.C. has become the poster child for “How to wreck a city.” And most of this madness can be chalked up to an overly controlling Democrat political class.
Soon they will have the city all to themselves. Perhaps that is what they have wanted all along? So, we wonder, is it time to pack up that U-Haul again? What we don’t wonder is why the District of Columbia is rated by its inhabitants as the worst place to live in the U.S.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.