Home of the Brave
By Neddie Jingo! has a dream:
At any rate, the disgraceful defilement of Washington, DC in the 45 years since (no, be honest: 46) was brought to mind in a single moment yesterday afternoon. The battle-hardening of the square-mile area surrounding the White House, begun in the hysteria over Libyan terrorist cells during the Reagan Regnum, and reinforced and made permanent in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing of the middle Clinton years, has made the Ellipse a dreary maze of Jersey barriers, ugly temporary fences and chain enclosures that mark off arbitrary Sterile Zones into which the hapless tourist wanders erroneously at his peril. A non-English-speaking visitor stands an excellent chance of being shot dead for wandering into one of these ambiguously marked Zones and not understanding the police's bullhorned cease-and-desist order. A more enslaved symbol of the Land of the Free, and a more pusillanimous emblem of the Home of the Brave, is simply impossible to imagine.
Yesterday I heard a sane, measured, adult voice speaking, encouraging me to stand tall and refuse to be afraid, refuse to be cowed, refuse to be swayed by the rhetoric of fear, a voice that intoned,It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they did. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it’s up to us to do the very same thing.I walked past that White House just a few minutes after I heard those words, saw the layers of temporary fencing and Jersey barriers and steel-chain bollards and black-clad stormtroopers wielding god-knows-what kind of weaponry around the Presidential Perimeter, and was struck as never before by one laser-sharp insight:
The Fear starts -- and ends -- here.