In yesterday and today's Drudge Report, there were two stories that caught my eye. One dealt with the controversial speech Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) gave at the opening of the Capitol Visitor's Center, where he besmirched the millions of vistors who flock to D.C. every year, and the other story dealt with Senator Jim DeMint's (R-SC) letter of complaint about the utter lack of references to the Christian heritage of this country. Both, reveal something very poignant about the Multi-billion dollar Capitol Visitor's Center (CVC). The CVC is a testament of the attitude those who occupy federal office have towards this country and its people.
When I worked in D.C. I was witness to the construction of the monstrocity that is the CVC. It was already two years behind schedule, and well over budget. Two different Architects of the Capitol oversaw the construction of the project, and the Congressional leadership was very excited about it's soon to be opening (which was delayed for the sixth time when I was there). During my tenure is when it received its name "Emancipation Hall". From pictures I have seen, it is very beautiful and has a lot of modern media fair. However, with the recent statements by the Senate Majority Leader, and the concerns raised by the gentleman from South Carolina, I am wondering if its beauty will be fleeting.
Over the recent months, surprisingly, the disdain that the Members of Congress have for the people of the United States has been openly displayed and well documented. During the debate over the economic bailout policies this Congress is pursuing, Senators and Representatives alike have looked down from their ivory towers at the riff raff, and declared openly that the American people are "too ignorant of the complicated nuances of this 'rescue package'", (Senator Diane Feinstein, D-CA). Once their disdain (read fear) was relayed, they voted against the American people for a bailout that had no hope of working. Yet, now we have another example of the overt disdain the Members of Congress seem now so free to display in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comments at the opening of the CVC.
Against the expressed wishes of his staff, Sen. Reid jokingly announced that he would no longer have to "smell the visitor's B.O." when they come to visit the Capitol. What the ofactorally challanged Senator was alluding to was, that in the past tourists would choose to go through their Senator's or Representative's office to receive a tour of the Capitol. Many times these people - during the hot summer months in D.C.- would have to walk almost a mile to get to their Senator's or Representative's office. This schlepp would often lead to people not smelling that fresh. Now, with the opening of the CVC, Senate and Representative offices no longer have to offer constiuent tours, and apparently Sen. Reid is thankful for this, because he won't have to "smell" his constituents. I am sorry that the inconveniences of his constiuents offends him so much. Perhaps Mr. Reid should find a new line of work, if he is so sensitive to such things.
As someone who gave the tours of the Capitol to the hot and sweating constituents. I take offense with these statements. The highlight of my week was often giving tours to the constiuents that I help represent. I loved getting to know the people of our district, and listening to their concerns and triumphs. I believed this helped me do my job better for the Congressman I worked for, and I know that it gave a more personal touch to our constituents vacation. I know that many of these people enjoyed the tours, because many would call the office or write letters to thank us. During the summer months the people could be ripe, but that was because they were walking everywhere they went (because renting and parking a car in D.C. is near impossible). Instead of commenting on their odor, we offered to let them rest and stored greater number of 5 gallon water jugs so we could offer them something cool to drink. I guess this is what it means to be a servant of the people, instead of thinking that the people are there to serve you. Perhaps Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid could take a lesson from the attitude of the people of Congressman Burgess of Texas' office.
Seperation of Church and State Gone Too Far
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) released a letter to the media announcing his disgust with the lack of references to the Christian heritage of the United States in the Capitol Vistor's Center (CVC). Many of the references allude to the superiority of the federal government, and that the federal government is the answer to all men's woes. Visitors will also enter reading a large engraving that states, ‘We have built no temple but the Capitol. We consult no common oracle but the Constitution.’ This is a clear determination by the Architect of the Capitol and Congressional Leadership to deny God's past and current blessings on this country, and the importance Christianity played in our founding. To deny or even to refuse to mention the Christian heritage of this country is not only a travisty, but is a deliberate attempt to revise the history of this great country.
I am not suprised that this Architect of the Capitol would not wish to include religious references in the design of the CVC. This is the same Architect who tried to disallow any reference to God on the certificates that are given with the flags that are flown over the Capitol. It was only after public outcry that he changed his mind. Again the same Architect has promised to remedy this situation as well, and again it took the outcry of Senators.