December 9, 2012

Last week, my wife and I thought it would be fun to attend the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree about 150 yards from the building. Tuesday’s ceremony was on public land at public expense with public employees, the Capitol Police, providing security. However, members of the public were treated as second-class citizens, required to stand behind a fence about 75 yards from the tree. Only members of Congress and their friends and families, whose names were on “the list” held by a young man at the gate, were allowed to get past the fence and actually approach the tree.

A short program was held, but from behind the fence it was difficult to see or hear what was going on. Our enjoyment was minimized by this condescending treatment. The tree looked wonderful, but it would have been fun to see whether it looked as beautiful up close. Only a select few had that opportunity.

Given high-handed actions such as restrictions that treat normal citizens as unworthy to rub elbows with the elite at a tree ceremony, some members of Congress apparently need to be reminded that we fought the American revolution to get out from under England’s system of royal privilege.

Mel Johnson, Milwaukee