Archive for February, 2021

The Capitol

Monday, February 8th, 2021

You and I watched January sixth in sickened awe, in disbelief, in anger; as thousands of our fellow citizens climbed and clawed all over our gleaming national symbol, as a fire-breathing mob, stoked in hatred, enraged against their own government, screaming through its corridors in a violent, barbarous and flagpole wielding fury, bent on destruction and death - which they achieved.

Only one other time brought the reaction I had that day: It was the fear and uncertainty from viewing television images of Spanish soldiers shooting inside their democratically-elected parliament in an attempted coup d’etat in 1981.

The thought that anyone, in a modern democracy, would enter an assembly — Our assembly, Our Congress — and threaten its members with weapons, struck fear in my heart then. But never, ever did I think such an outrage could descend on our own gleaming citadel of freedom.

The people who work in that building work for us, you and me. They are our only voices in our nation’s government. They listen and react when you write or call. I know. I have worked in and around it for more than 40 years.

When a constituent of a House or Senate member’s district or state calls or writes, the people who work there take notice. If you visit in person, it’s almost like the red carpet gets rolled out. They care about what you think and what you say, because your vote will either re-elect or defeat them.

The men and women who work there are just like you or me: they’re young and idealistic, they’re older and wiser; they worship or not; they have spouses and partners and friends and children and dogs and cats. And they work hard, with schedules that pack meetings and visits and writing and voting from sunup to way past sundown.

Your government will act for you, if you make your voice heard; if you phone or write to your own representative/senator to urge passage or revocation or a bill or amendment, if you vote to elect/reelect the leader you want - not based on how hard s/he is attacked by her/his opponent, but based on the ideas s/he puts forth in the election contest and the perceived values s/he holds.

Our government isn’t the president, it isn’t one man. It is people who come to Washington from our own town and county, city and state.

Our government is us, you and me, and what that mob did on January 6 was to attack the very heart of each one of us, the heart of our nation, the cause for which Abraham Lincoln - who in 1865 was sworn in on those same steps, desecrated by the mob - spoke eloquently at Gettysburg:

…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

It could have perished on January 6, 2021, but it did not. Our duty is to stand fast for our country, and ensure that perish, it never will.