And so it was, after seemingly an epic journey, that I made it to Washington, crashed into my lovely soft, fluffy, bed and slept... and slept... seemingly for the first time in weeks. I awoke with that nasty hotel feeling that someone has sucked all of the moisture from your throat but otherwise well, and prepared for an afternoon of politics, American style.
This year, for a change, the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) convention banquet was moved forward to the first evening to allow a number of House and Senate members to attend, so I needed to make some effort with my wardrobe. So I picked out a purple short-sleeved shirt made from khadi silk and, armewd with my laptop, set off for the campus of Gallaudet University to meet with my fellow co-chair of ADA's Foreign and Military Policy Commission, Bill Markus.
Bill has been around for rather longer than I have, and has frequently chaired the commission in the past, and we agreed tactics before an unusually small band of delegates turned up. I say unusually small because we started rather earlier than usual this year, and a lot of delegates won't arrive until tomorrow morning. However, we quickly got into the swing of things, agreeing issue statements on Iran, Iraq, Israel and Palestine and Human Rights, before deciding upon and agreeing two topical resolutions, one on Venezuela and the other on the ongoing crisis in Darfur.
Next, we adjourned to a reception, where I got the chance to talk to Vic Fingerhut, one of the best known American pollsters, whose views on how America is perceived overseas proved to be very robust. I tend to share his view that America need not apologise for taking a lead role within the world community, even if administrations past and present have made some ghastly misjudgements in their choices of when and when not to intervene.
The evening was rounded off in fine style with a banquet to honour Peter Yarrow (Peter from Peter, Paul and Mary) and Andy Levin, son of Congressman Sander Levin and nethew of Senator Carl Levin, for his work in the field of workers' rights. Unusually for these events, the food was pretty good, and I was lucky enough to be seated at a table with the freshman Congressman from Iowa, David Loebsack, which was entertaining, to say the least.