Friday, May 26, 2006

Fast Action -- When Their Interests are at Stake

A USAToday editorial sums it up nicely: In America, all people are created equal -- it's just that some are more equal than others:

"When the government snoops on your phone calls and records without warrants, lawmakers barely kick up a fuss. But when the target is a fellow Congressman - one under investigation for taking a bribe, no less - they're ready to rumble."

It took five days from the time the FBI showed up on Capitol Hill until Congressional leaders pressured the President into protecting one of their own. The Republican Speaker taking up for a Democrat under investigation. A rare show of bipartisanship.

Protecting Themselves First

Today, a loud noise echoed through the parking garage at the Rayburn House Office Building. It may have been workmen hammering on a pipe. But it was reported as gun shots.

Suddenly, Congress was locked down. It's emblematic of how quickly Congress can act to protect itself.

Look around Capitol Hill these days. Since 9/11, the Capitol complex looks like Fort Apache. Barriers, jersey walls, and sealed streets ring the Capitol.

The Capitol itself was designed to symbolize access of the people to their government. The steps to the Capitol flow out like rivers, in an open invitation to the people to enter "the People's House." The huge doors are designed to be swung open as an inviting opening for all people to enter.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Washington was quick to protect itself.

But what about the rest of us.

The reccomendations of the 9/11 Commission have not been enacted.

Congress can act quickly. Too bad it's only when their members need fast action. (USAToday)

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