My Turn: A family’s disconcerting trip to D.C.
This is an open letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer. The last time our family was in Washington D.C., prior to our son’s birth, we enjoyed a self-guided tour of Capitol Hill.
We ate Senate Bean soup at the Senate Cafe, strolled the halls of the House and Senate, admired architecture, relished the history and enjoyed watching our Congress in operation from whatever vantage point was available.
Now, however, imagine our surprise ” because of the fear, real or imagined, which currently grips our society ” as we were unable to visit those same halls. Instead, we were met by armed guards on the Capitol steps who would not let us enter those same congressional buildings. Mind you, these were not simply uniformed Capitol Police in their tidy black-and-white uniforms, but jack-booted, black-clothed, flak-jacketed, Uzi-toting armed guards on the steps of Congress.
In addition, as we attempted to show our son and our Japanese foreign exchange student the monuments and museums on the Mall, my son noticed snipers at the top of almost every other building there.
These things were most disconcerting because we had just come from a visit to the Holocaust Museum with its graphic reminders of how destructive and oppressive government can become if proper checks and balances are not maintained.
We are very disappointed in the changes that have taken place in Washington since our last visit. We are disappointed in you for allowing Mr. Bush and his ilk their free-and-unchallenged reign, which has led to the new look and the attitude of the Capitol. Through inaction, you and other elected officials have not only changed the landscape of Washington but have allowed inalienable rights, like Habeas Corpus, to be suspended.
Our family holds you responsible for the losses of freedom and liberties that have been tolerated during the current administration because you are the person we vested our power of authority in by voting for you in the last two elections. If you expect to have our votes in the next election, you will become a louder voice for those who believe that your position carries with it an obligation to question each and every act by the administration and to determine whether each act is constitutional and in the best interest of our country.
Based on what we saw in Washington D.C., as of today, we think that you and others in the Democratically “controlled” Congress have been remiss in those duties thus far.
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