Max Marcello | Staff Writer
March 30, 2023
The date Jan. 6, 2021 will be remembered by all those who witnessed the events on that infamous day.
The scene of a ravenous mob forcing its way into the halls of Congress, is forever etched into our national consciousness. Americans watched as a group of alleged domestic terrorists tried to bring down our democracy by forcing themselves into our nation’s capital.
Following this ugly moment came an equally ugly government response. Rather than confront the underlying issues leading to Jan. 6, Congress and the Biden administration have turned the “people’s house” into a scene resembling a military occupation.
Gone are the days where American citizens could peacefully enjoy the government facilities for which they pay. Today Congress now sits atop a fortress with a prominent metal fence accompanied by police treating each and every passerby as if they were suspects concealing criminal intent.
It would be unfair and unreasonable for me to lay the blame at the feet of the construction workers and officers doing their jobs.
Biden announced that the central tenet of his presidency was going to be working toward “restoring the soul of America”. If the Biden administration’s intention was to convey unity and restore confidence to the American people it failed miserably.
Rather it pursued a series of initiatives including building fences, and publicly displaying police in militarized gear with fully automatic weapons and armored vehicles. These project another image, the image of fear.
Policymakers have erected the great Washington Wall, visibly separating state from citizen creating an uneasy feeling. While defenders of the administration’s policy to increase security and surveillance argue it is a necessary defense measure to protect these buildings and those who work there, I vehemently disagree.
It has cost the U.S. taxpayers, according to citizensforethics.org, $1.5 million for the fencing and associated equipment to put up the barrier.
Unrest and violence directed against government buildings is nothing new.
D.C. experienced a similar wave of increased security measures during the Vietnam war protests of the late 1960s, the Oklahoma City Bombing and 9/11 yet always returned to normal afterward.
It has been two years since Jan. 6 and still our government has not made this transition. On the contrary, Washington has doubled down on militarizing. The mere presence of overly militarized officers and the ominous steel fences on the Capitol ground, clash with American values of democracy and government of the people.
Even members of Congress quietly admits the security measures are not a good look for the institution as a whole. If you visit the Capitol’s official website there are no images of the building with the post Jan. 6 walls.
How can this be?
It is because even the people who work there quietly admit through their actions or lack thereof that the Capitol building fundamentally belongs to the American people just as its members are beholden to them.
It is the taxpayer that expends the necessary financial burden of running Congress. Therefore it is not unreasonable to demand that the Capitol be enjoyed by the citizens paying for its upkeep.
Should calls to demilitarize the Capitol go unanswered then the situation in our country should best be characterized as We vs. the People of the United States.