The release of Justin Timberlake’s new song Suit & Tie is appropriate for any high ranking affair held at the State Department. Alright, probably not to be played at a diplomatic dinner, but it coincides with what we saw today. Our tour guide, Margarie, took us through elegant colonial period rooms at the state department that are actually used to accommodate guests, read as heads of state. From the Entrance Hall to the Benjamin Franklin Dining Room, guests get our nation’s best accommodations showing our culture and wealth. All of the artifacts at the Department of State are borrowed from a museum or from the National Archives from the colonial period, relating to diplomatic history of the United States. Reception rooms are decorated with imported china in beautiful cabinets, gorgeous rugs, and chandeliers to drop jaws. When heads of state come, a commitee, called the Protocol Committee, lets everyone know what customs are expected from the department staff, and rolls out the red carpets to welcome leaders. Just like Timberlake, the United States is trying to show foreign diplomats “a few things”.
Our tour, sadly, did not include any type of information about what the State Department does, so I’ll explain what I know. On its most basic level, the department’s function is to be our nations marketing and customer service department for foreign countries. The state department is involved in everything from helping foreign American’s get a new passport if they have lost it, to brokering peace and trade deals with other countries.