Almost two and half months after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, police in Washington have finally begun to dismantle the chain-link and metal barricades that had turned the cathedral of democracy around the globe into a standing prison more reminiscent of a dictatorship. My question is this: Why has it taken so long?
President Joe Biden was inaugurated two months ago, and the threats that were posed prior to Jan. 20, 2021, are no longer present. The barricades have been a stain on the nation’s capital, but they are finally going away, and I, for one, am ecstatic. The presence of the fencing made it look and feel as if we were in a third-world country such as Venezuela, which you wouldn’t expect in the country that represents the highest examples of democratic governance. Yet, our nation’s capital found itself at a complete standstill, unrecognizable to many, blocking public access to one of our most sacred monuments, the United States Capitol.
Members of Congress cited the violence on Jan. 6 as the catalyst for their stringent guardrails, but I couldn’t help but feel that we were giving in to the worst aspect of the human condition: fear. One thing we must never do is live in fear and kowtow to its whims. We are a nation of various political views, experiences and beliefs, but violence can never be justified, and we must not tolerate political frustration turning into physical anger.
That’s not who we are nor is it who we can ever become.
For the overwhelming majority of people on both sides of the aisle, political violence is never the answer. Our nation was founded on the ideals of freedom and liberty, and the way that we fight back against what we believe to be an affront to those ideals is by exercising our precious right to vote. Our Founding Fathers created a system where every two years, we, the people, have the ability to reelect current members of Congress or elect a brand-new Congress.
Every day, I pray for our country. I pray for the success of its leaders, both Democratic and Republican. Thus far, Biden has not lived up to the words that he campaigned on. He ran with the message that he would restore the soul of America by bringing both Republicans and Democrats together, hearkening back to the old days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill.
Unfortunately, thus far, it has been quite the opposite. Almost every single one of his nominees and almost every major piece of legislation passed so far has been passed in a split Congress if not by executive order.
If the president truly wanted to unite the country, he would nominate moderate Democrats. Most Americans are either center-left or center-right, but centrist nevertheless.
Yet the president seems focused only on a miniscule but loud progressive faction within his party, and as a result, he is undermining his entire presidency and campaign promise of uniting America.
Biden also campaigned on transparency, but so far, he has yet to hold a single press conference, and at the time of this writing, the press has not been allowed to visit detention centers at the southern border. We should be up in arms at this; do we live in communist China where we cannot report freely and fairly? We are now facing a major immigration crisis at the border that the White House was initially quick to downplay.
Furthermore, they’ve continuously hidden the president from the press, making it impossible for the press to directly ask the president what’s going on. Allow me to reiterate that he hasn’t had one major press conference since taking office. Why is that? Perhaps more importantly, this blatant lack of transparency begs the question: What’s wrong with the president of the United States? Is he sick? The American people need to hear from him directly, not his woefully underwhelming press secretary.
I hope that with the Capitol grounds reopening, normalcy in covering our government will also return. I’m just happy to be able to visit my friends on Capitol Hill. The United States remains a great country, and we must continue to represent the highest ideals of the human condition. For as long as I have been alive, the rest of the world has looked west at the that shining city on a hill known as these United States, and we must ensure that they continue to do so.