Like an opening scene from “Chrissy Goes to Washington,” a fresh-faced, idealistic go-getter accepts her first post-grad job in the Capitol Hill office of Michigan’s Republican Governor, moving from rural Upper Michigan to a studio apartment in the shadows of the U.S. Capitol. Every day, she commutes by foot across Capitol grounds, in wide-eyed awe of her surroundings. For a girl who grew up on Schoolhouse Rock, life couldn’t get much better than this!
My first year in DC revolved around our revered Capitol and all she symbolized. My job often took me into the Capitol for errands at Member offices, a committee meeting, or a lunch with a staffer in one of its buzzing cafeterias. I experienced the underground tunnels and the quirky little subways which connect the multiple buildings of our Capitol. I soaked up the history of Congress, while actually witnessing policy-making in motion. So much to experience, respect, and appreciate!
But the spot that never failed to take my breath away and fill me with patriotism was the Rotunda. When I close my eyes, I am transported back to my younger self looking upwards at the Dome in unbridled admiration. My feet are pulled to the ground by
the energy of something sacred, of something much greater than me: the energy of our Founding Fathers, and the heartbeat of America. Hallowed grounds indeed.
Oh and the views from the Dome? Incomparable.
Since Wednesday’s insurrection, I’ve been replaying my own memories from living and working on Capitol Hill, while taking in the images and videos I’ve seen of this disgraceful violation of the very HEART of our nation. So many emotions- from fear for the lives of our elected officials, staffers, Capitol Hill police, and the press corps; to grief when learning of an Officer’s death and injury to many of his colleagues; to deep sadness and anger at the trashing of the Capitol itself; to complete outrage at the symbols and actions of hypocrisy, racism, anti-Semitism, and white nationalism in the name of Jesus; and to relief when our Congress safely reconvened to finish their work. I could go on and on…. so much to process, so much to say.
But you know what emotion I didn’t feel while watching this unfold? Surprise. I am not at all surprised.