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With curiosity, I read “The Year D.C. History Died” (12/24/04). It raises a number of questions, as well as concerns, about the focus of the Anthony A. Williams administration and its accounting and budgetary practices. What a shame—and what a waste—to create a museum that was opened on the weak premise that the people will come and cherish the historical importance of our fair city.
Washington, D.C., has come a long way, and under the direction of Mayor Williams, the city has blossomed in terms of both real estate and businesses. However, at the same time, the Williams administration has failed to deliver on paving the way to equal opportunity for all citizens of our city. Many citizens are still asking, “Where is my piece of the pie?” The failure of the museum is an addition to the list of other failures and waste—all the result of weak marketing strategies and a lack of needed public attention. This is compounded by the misguided ideological judgments of the interest of the public, as to who will show. As usual, the administration has placed its own agenda ahead of its citizens’. I can only guess that all museum-promotion efforts died when baseball became a perceived hot ticket. I’ll take history over baseball any day, because education is priceless, and baseball is just baseball.
The history of the District of Columbia hasn’t died; it has been languishing for hundreds of years, far back into the days of our early presidents. However, I see nothing to celebrate when the current need for baseball outweighs the needs of the city’s citizens and its services—which are in dire need of improvement. On the other hand, recent demographic and economic shifts have caused the increased displacement of residents, and those who remain or are new to the District will be ultimately concerned and must deal with higher taxes, fewer government services, gentrification, globalization, outsourcing, unemployment, homelessness, and underemployment. Over all those issues, there is the baseball—baseball, with its weak American Dream that all men will not be able to share in equally.
With all the fuss over baseball, will the huge crowds come? That I do not know, and neither does the Williams administration. We can only hope that opportunity will be equal after the new stadium is built and the citizens will see some material benefit from it. What we will learn from all this? Only time will tell what is real and what is Memorex.