Remembering Greatness on Capitol Hill

I just spent a week on Capitol Hill during the government shutdown trying to raise interest in my legislative proposals -- and what a week it was.

Some offices were open, others were closed. There were even those pretending to be closed, but with essential staff working out of sight in the back rooms.

The torrential rain flooding the area made it a bit difficult navigating the streets, but the helpfulness and consideration shown by those I came across made up for it. (OK -- not everyone, but most people I met.)

In some ways, the place seems to bring out the best in us. Both staffers and Capitol Hill police extended a courtesy and respect I hadn't come across anywhere else in the world -- and I've lived and worked all over the globe.

Maybe it's the impressive majesty of the place that has this effect on people. The splendor of its beautiful and imposing buildings remind us all what a great country the United States of America is - and how it should always strive for excellence in everything it does.

As I mentioned to a friend of mine while there: "There is nothing in the world that compares to Capitol Hill. It's like a dream or fantasy place, but no Hollywood set could have built it."

It really is an honor and privilege to be there, and such a pleasure too. So why can't it be a harmonious environment instead of a place of rancor, infighting and dysfunction, as revealed to the entire world during the recent shutdown?

Those who've managed to bring the U.S. government to a standstill should take a good look at their surroundings, and reconsider their tactics and approach to politics.

In 1791, when President George Washington commissioned architect and civil engineer Pierre L'Enfant to design the layout of Washington, D.C., not many people imagined the grandiose vision L'Enfant had in mind. Instead, they expected a modest plan to be the result of his work.

Clearly, L'Enfant had more ambitious ideas for building the new federal capital city -- and that's how we ended up with the monumental structures we have there today.

L'Enfant was born in France, but as an outsider looking in, he seemed to have a better idea of the great nation the U.S. was destined to be -- even back then in the 18th century.

Many around the world still believe in the American Dream. They want to look up to the U.S. as a world leader: head and shoulders above the rest, and capable of soaring like an eagle to unimaginable heights.

The current government shutdown is a disappointment to them all.

Others who harbor ill will towards this country look upon the state of paralysis with glee. They see it as another indication of waning U.S. influence in the world.

So let's prove them wrong and show that the U.S. is open for business again -- in the manner the Founding Fathers truly envisaged it to be.

Petty politics have no place in the grandeur of Capitol Hill - and the buildings there continue to stand as a timeless reminder of this.

Now all we need are the politicians who can demonstrate the stature and nobility of spirit to merit being in them.