Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The United States Capitol – Part 1

At least it got our minds off the pandemic…

United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. (5 April 2018) 

I guess it stands to reason that if I have this quest to photograph every state house, I would also have images of our Nation’s Capitol…especially since it’s just down the road from here.

I certainly do have images of our magnificent capitol. I planned to save them for a post after presenting the fifty state houses. Sort of a Grand Finale to the Quest. However, after the disgusting invasion and vandalism we saw this week, I had to crank up the indignation…but we’ll save (most of) that for Part 2.

I so wanted 2021 to be a fresh start. The blog is ten years old now and we’re coming off a miserable year. I wanted to return to travel adventures, interesting ‘Shots of the Day’ and ballpark stories. As much as it gets the juices flowing, I was tired of ranting about the plague, Confederate traitors and the election…I’m sure some readers were as well. The rant tank was empty. The screed machine needed to cool off. Then January 6 happened.

Statuary Hall, United States Capitol, 
Washington, D.C. (14 November 2008) 

Dear Wife, I & M Editor and Covid Companion, suggested that the post could be more about disappointment and sadness than outrage. I had to agree. Of course, I am sad that the beautiful People’s House was desecrated. I am also disappointed that the government we always tout as the best God ever created…one that I revere for its founder’s genius and its longevity…had come to this.

The problem is what ‘THIS’ is. The disfunction, corruption, inept criminality and monumental arrogant ignorance is infuriating. We KNOW what BAD behavior is but we excuse it when the perp is on our side. I don’t understand why the hypocrisy card is not played more.

Anyway…about the capitol…

Rotunda, United States Capitol, 
Washington, D.C. (14 November 2008) 

In January 2018, I posted one exterior shot of the capitol. It was a ‘Shot of the Day’ image and the text was about my past hassles with the Capitol Police because they caught me using a tripod on the sacred capitol grounds. I believe they have some serious ’splainin’ to do regarding their performance last week.

So here are some images of our beautiful center of government. I hope it won’t be long until we regular citizen types who love the ‘People’s House’ can visit it again. And because the place was unlawfully breached by a lunatic mob, I also hope they don’t turn it into an impregnable fortress.

United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. (31 August 2008) 

While the Congress as we know it was established in 1789, it met in New York and Philadelphia until the legislature’s building was completed in L’Enfant’s new capital city in 1800. The capitol building was originally planned as the geographic center of the city with street addresses radiating out into quadrants from this spot. Current Washington addresses include additions like “NW” or “SE” along with street names and building numbers.

While the coverage of the insurrection has included references to some unfortunate events in the past, like the 1954 shooting in the House by Puerto Rican nationalists, an actual takeover of the capitol has not occurred since 1814 when a British invading army stormed and torched the building. That retaliation was prompted by an earlier American attack in Canada that burned government buildings in present-day Toronto.

United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. (16 April 2009

By the mid-nineteenth century, the capitol had to expand to accommodate legislators from the new states. Wings were added that became the new House and Senate chambers. After that, the original low dome was no longer proportional to the rest of the structure. By 1863, the cast iron dome we see today was completed.

National Capitol Columns, National Arboretum, 
Washington, D.C. (5 May 2006) 

When the East Portico of the Capitol was extended in the 1960’s, the original sandstone columns were replaced with marble. In the 1980’s, twenty-two of the original twenty-four columns were arranged on the grounds of the National Arboretum in a way that reminds visitors of the Persian ruins of Persepolis.

I know coming events will far outstrip whatever has happened up to now. I just hope enough people believe this riot and incursion was crazy wrong.

January 6, 2021 will rightfully go down as one of the worst days in American history. I don’t want to hear about grievance and First Amendment rights and patriotism and baseless imaginary fraud. Admit that if Democrats got their followers to pull this kind of stunt, you would be equally appalled.

United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. (25 November 2017) 

Tune in for the next episode when we present more shots (wrong choice of words) of the Beating Heart of the American Experiment and try to make sense of what happened.

(Tom made me do it)

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