Home U.S Capitol Hill is my neighborhood, not a militarized zone. Tear down oppressive...

Capitol Hill is my neighborhood, not a militarized zone. Tear down oppressive fencing.

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Years ago, I accompanied a European colleague to a series of meetings at the United States Capitol building. He insisted we arrive hours before his first appointment, expecting the required security screening to be time-intensive. Instead, we waited in a short line, walked through a metal detector and put our bags on the security screening conveyor belt. The entire process couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes. 

How wonderful, my companion remarked, how American that citizens could so easily visit their legislators. 

Today, though, a 7-foot-high fence, topped with razor wire, stands around the Capitol, establishing a physical barrier between the government and the governed. If the acting chief of Capitol Police has her way the fence will become a permanent fixture. Such an action would turn the Capitol into a fortress instead of a building embodying America’s proud tradition of open democracy. 



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