Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A bar called Liberty

So last night I'm supposed to meet a couple Kansans for drinks at this bar in Foggy Bottom called the Library. But in the course of meeting deadlines, swim lessons, cleaning up the place for guests tonight, etc., I got the name switched in my head, and at 9 p.m. I headed back to the District -- looking for a bar that, in my head, was called Liberty, not Library.

I looked for Liberty's address on Yahoo!, and nothing came up. Nor was Liberty available on 411. I was undeterred. It's a new bar, right? Probably not in directory assistance yet. I decided to just drive to the Foggy Bottom Metro stop and ask around for it -- maybe I'd see it, and if not, surely someone would know where it is.

And that's how I ended up driving through D.C. last night, asking people from my rolled-down pickup window, "Do you know where Liberty is?" "Excuse me -- can you help me find Liberty?" "Hey -- where's Liberty?" No one was helpful, and in retrospect, people seemed startled -- of course, I thought I was just asking about a watering hole. But when I realized my mistake (by going back to the office and checking the day's e-mails), I knew that really, I'd been asking an incredibly abstract question of people, one they probably hadn't expected or thought about all that much.

But for epistemological purposes, why not ask? Where, indeed, can Liberty be found? Liberty can be found in free discourse, including Bob Dole and his questioning of John Kerry's war record. It lives in the right to assembly and protest, including in New York at the RNC. Liberty is found whenever one supports human rights, including speaking out against atrocities in the Sudan. And Liberty is opportunity -- to know that if you work hard and play your cards right, you too can rise from the Wichita School Board to the U.S. Congress, to rebound from defeat after 18 years in office to serve in a presidential cabinet, knowing that someday, someday you may be -- a powerful lobbyist. (Glickman starts his new job next week.)

Liberty is not always just, nor is it always safe. Yet, Liberty can be found when driving down a D.C. street at night, windows rolled down, asking bizarre questions of total strangers, and living to blog about it. "Liberty" is more than just a bar -- it's an elixer for the human soul. I'm truly glad I figured out where I needed to go, while growing as a person due to my mistake.