Censored

June 2, 2016

I KEEP ONE of my better recent photos under wraps. If you're a Facebook friend, you might have seen it briefly before I took it down.

 

This is an alternate take from the same shoot. It's the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, along the route newly elected Presidents walk on their way from the Capitol to the White House on Inauguration Day. Under a long-term lease with the government, Donald Trump is converting it into a deluxe hotel. Huge signs on the site read: Coming 2016 TRUMP.

 

My wife Jerrie and I were downtown on a cold rainy Saturday in February. She was there to shop with our niece, who works at a clothing store on F Street (in what once was the 9:30 Club). They shooed me away and I wandered over to Pennsylvania Avenue. The signs at the Trump hotel site use adjectives such as prime, spectacular, largest, luxury, magnificent. Beneath one sign, I saw a person lying on a park bench, wrapped in an old comforter, in the cold wet February rain.

 

The contrast between absolute luxury and absolute poverty was stark so I took a shot. Some friends love the picture. Others perceive it as me blaming Trump for homelessness. That's not what I intended. But in my line of work, perceptions often matter more than reality. I need to be sensitive about what I say and do publicly and how it might reflect on my employer politically.

 

Maybe I can share the photo with you some day. Until then, click here if you want a sense of it. It's the bench just beyond the Jeep. If you're downtown you can see it yourself in the 1100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. I went back not long ago. What appeared to be the same person was still using the same bench as his or her bed.

 

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