Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
We live in suburban Maryland, sandwiched between Baltimore and Washington D.C. During pre-COVID, “normal” times, we absolutely love it here, despite everyone’s hate of “The Swamp.” It’s a great place to raise kids, between the outdoors options, the historical offerings from Mt. Vernon to the National Mall, to the museums ranging in focus from natural history to Air & Space to art to African American history and culture. Both Washington and Baltimore have great zoos and cultural offerings and under normal circumstances, we have a wealth of opportunities for midweek and weekend programming and visits.
And yet, during the last months, we’ve only been able to partake in the offerings in one city: Baltimore. The Baltimore zoo, aquarium, children’s museum, and B&O Railroad Museum are all open for business, while all of the offerings in DC, like the National Zoo and all of the Smithsonians, are closed and have been for most of the last twelve months.
Why? It’s a matter of incentives. The museums and institutions in Baltimore are all privately funded, and those in D.C. rely on public federal cash. As such, there is absolutely no reason for the Smithsonian-affiliated institutions to figure out how to open safely, despite the fact that similar institutions just a short distance away in Baltimore have done so for months. It’s the same story with private vs. public schools; when you pay people and give a choice between doing their job in-person or from the comfort of their home, the majority will choose the latter.
What’s particularly frustrating is the hostage situation we’re all subjected to with these publicly-funded institutions; we’re still expected to pay federal and local property taxes for services we’re being denied. Living in this area and making our way into the second year of senseless closures is doubly insulting; we have had absolutely no access to any of the publicly-funded services that attracted us to this area in the first place.Published in