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Agreeing with Speaker Gingrich

January 8th, 2006

The following quote appears in today’s Washington Post

The American people should be able to come in the front door of Congress, not the basement.

These simple words were uttered by none other than former Speaker New Gingrich, architect of the Republic Revolution in 1994. Not exactly my hero, but on this point we agree.

The topic is the illconceived Capitol Visitor Center. I suggest reading the linked article, as it does a good job describing the monstrosity that has consumed the Capitol Building since before I served there as an intern in 2002. The idea is to create a center where visitors can congregate before taking their managed tours of the Capitol. What this means to those citizens who travel up to 3000 miles for the opportunity is exactly what Newt said… no awe inspiring steps and columns for you Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer. That’s all fenced off and guarded. Entrance into the Capitol is currently only possible through side tunnels from the Senate and House Office buildings. Once the center is opened you’ll be able to enter from yet another exciting underground entrance.

I understand closing off the White House. I’m not a big fan, but it makes sense. The Executive is a single individual, and protection remains a top priority. Such is not the case with the legislature. It is the people’s branch and openness should be its rallying cry. For me the visitors center represents a loss of open government; it represents closing down our sacred institutions because of unsubstantiated fears of terrorism. It replaces reasonable and noninvasive security measures with obstructive new way of life.

I never got a chance to assend those steps up to the Capitol (although I was escorted down them when I was ejected from the Capitol on my first week interning). No citizen will ever get the chance, and it’s sad.

probonogeek Uncategorized

  1. Karl Smith
    January 8th, 2006 at 22:49 | #1

    Why do the American people believe they should have access the halls of government? The government is in place to protect the people (don’t you remember September 11th?) and all the public could possibly do is get in the way. So the question is not “Why can they not enter through the front?’ but rather “Why can they enter?”

    And don’t even get me *started* on how perverse it is that our society still holds “elections.” Wouldn’t it be far simpler to simply pass the authority on to one’s heirs?

  2. tom
    January 9th, 2006 at 06:13 | #2

    Your ideas intrigue me, and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

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