In order to obtain a decent seat at Senate hearings, one must arrive approximately one hour early. This hour is the opportune time to catch up on the news, read a book, or chat with other early arrivers. Although these long lines can be quite entertaining, they are simply prerequisites for the big event. The Congressional hearings depict congress members hard at work: states are bragged about (Amy Klobuchar = biggest fan of Minnesota), arguments are made public, and witnesses are grilled.
I have found there is always a kind of mysterious air exuding from political figures. Why is this? For those of us “political junkies”, Senators and Representatives are similar to celebrities. Nancy Pelosi is like the Paris Hilton of politics. Well…kind of. Maybe that is not the best analogy, Nancy Pelosi is tiers apart from Paris Hilton, but you get the picture. I have finally come to the conclusion that these political figures are not only one person, but hundreds, thousands, and millions of people, and this essentially contributes to their air of greatness.
Last Wednesday, my day of long lines and long waits did not equate into seeing these political figures however. Instead, I encountered a day of overflow. As the committee room doors opened, the line started filtering in, and I did not have a good feeling about my chances. I was towards the back of the line and there is only so much space in the rooms, especially bearing in mind the reserved rows of seats in the front and the massive media table permitted only to those with the special press badge (I once got called out for being “too close” to the table). So there I was, along with 30 plus other intern-looking people, being ushered up to the overflow room. Instead of being surrounded by the political elite, I sat and watched the political elite on a rather large flat screen television with…other interns (the future political elite, right?!??) Lucky for me, my overflow experience was not only in the morning, but I also encountered it in the afternoon. It was a great experience…to not repeat. I’ll get there earlier next time.