Actor Ben Affleck was on a mission too. Ben traveled to Capitol Hill to do some research for his new role in the upcoming movie, "State of Play." Ben will play a congressman whose mistress is murdered. Naturally, he decided to visit House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Ben’s mode of transportation? I'll leave that up to the reader’s imagination.
John, during the course of his 500 mile walk, wanted to be sure that Nancy knew to expect him. He sent a letter on December 15 explaining the reasons for his journey and kindly requesting a meeting upon his arrival. He also phoned, emailed and sent a certified letter. He did so rather frequently. Frequently enough that he soon came to know the staffers by name.
One can only imagine how Ben expressed his intent to meet with Nancy. Perhaps a call from his publicist?
John, while on his trek, was met with cheers and encouragement by locals in the cities and towns he passed through including this writer in the birthplace of the Constitution, Philadelphia, PA as described in the article, Keeping the Republic . He also met with bad weather, blisters, an injured ankle and aching knees.
Ben was met with adoring fans and those pesky autograph seekers as described in the Indo-Asian News Service.
Sadly, John never received confirmation from the Speaker’s office regarding a meeting. But, he soldiered on with the help of David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org who is no stranger to Pelosi’s office. On Wednesday, they arrived at the Cannon House Office Building where Nancy’s district office is housed. Alas, Nancy wasn’t there. Instead, she was very, very busy at her Speaker’s office at the U.S. Capitol with no chance for John to gain access. They would have to settle for a staffer who would never arrive. You can read David’s delightful depiction of their zany adventures in the district office here . This meeting was important to John because our government now condones torture and wars of aggression, has restricted the right to habeas corpus, is threatening preemptive military action against yet another country and has a President and Vice President who have declared themselves to be above the law.
Thank goodness for Ben that Nancy chose him. Yes, Ben was able to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday. His adventures are reported here by Washington Post writer, Mary Ann Akers. According to Mary Ann, "Among the lucky ladies who got to chat with Affleck was none other than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi." Mary Ann goes on to describe how even though Nancy and Ben have met before, she never hosted him in her office! How exciting for both of them. Apparently, this meeting was important to Ben because the makers of the "State of Play" want to recreate the Speaker’s Lobby for the film. Who knew Ben was not only an actor, but a set designer as well?
John, as described in his blog sat in a "small, spare, cramped, ugly green space with virtually no decorations, no photos, and few senior staff."Ben, according to Mary Ann "commented that of all the offices he visited, none were as nice as the Speaker's, which has a palatial balcony and grand view of the National Mall."
John holds out hope that one day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will stop obstructing impeachment hearings and that the Constitution will be restored and protected.
Ben holds out hope that he won’t have another box office flop and maybe, just maybe, he’ll receive the coveted gold statue. Who knows? He might just thank Nancy Pelosi in his acceptance speech!
Update: John reports "OMG, Speaker Pelosi's Office Called!"
John Nirenberg at the National Constitution Center