Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Fortress DC

They are walling off Jefferson, Lincoln, and Wahington. They have shut down Pennsylvania Avenue. The concrete barriers are everywhere. Washington is not the place it was when I lived there, walking my dog from our house on 4th and F NE behind Union Station, down past the capital, and letting her run on the mall. (Yes, I brought bags, what do you take me for?) I wandered up to the Jefferson Memorial and sketched the whole thing out for an architecture survey class I was taking at Maryland. It was a cold and rainy mid day, and I was the only one there, except for the occasional tourist. They never stayed more than a minute. Not one of them read the inscriptions on the walls.

Anyways... In Monday's Post, Fred Hiatt gets in my head, and verbalizes precisely how I feel about it.

But if it is symbols we are protecting, then what have we lost when older people can no longer stop in at the Jefferson Memorial to read the inscriptions on its curved walls, when every "people's" monument is walled off by deadened streets and armed militia and long lines of tourists waiting to be wanded?

We lose more by having these things walled off, and the lines and the checkpoints, than we would by allowing people access, and yes, perhaps risking the loss of something dear to us as a nation. Tough. If it happens, it happens. Must we live in fear of everything, all the time? Screw that. We're America. We're better than this. And we can start by showing that in our capital.


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