My wife is from Bethesda, Maryland, just a few miles from our nation’s Capitol. I was happy to go back there and visit on occasion, as my wife still has family and friends living in the Washington, D.C., area.
It was always a thrill and a privilege to ride the Metro subway to the Capitol Mall and take in the museums, monuments, and other attractions. Chief among those was a trip to our beautiful Capitol Building where the business of the nation’s governance takes place. I was always able to go to Rep. DeFazio’s office, unannounced, and be welcomed by the congressional staff with open arms, thrilled to see a constituent from the other side of the continent. Passes to sit in the gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives were given upon request so a humble citizen could observe our government at work. It did my heart proud that I could move about freely among the halls of power. Such was the privilege of living in a free and open society.
After the events of Jan. 6., I am afraid those days are behind us.
An angry mob of Trump supporters, fueled on hatred and the big lie of electoral fraud, and exhorted on by the sitting President, laid siege to our beloved Capitol building with the intent to disrupt the certification of the electoral college votes for President. Rioters vandalized our Capitol, and some gained access looking to cause physical harm to our elected representatives, including Trump’s own loyal vice-president, Mike Pence. For his part in the insurrection former President Trump was impeached for a second time in the House and must be found guilty in his Senate trial. To do less would be to further damage our democracy.