DC locals are no strangers to occasional lockdowns for major events or official motorcades, but this is the worst I have seen in my eight years of living here. Perhaps what is most frustrating is that officials only started caring about the potential for violence and destruction after citizen anger was turned on the Democratic political elite. Only a few blocks around the White House were shut down to traffic over the summer when antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters burned a historic church and smashed and looted businesses. Local business owners had to take matters into their own hands by boarding up their storefronts. There was similarly a muted police presence downtown during the Republican National Convention, when GOP lawmakers and their families were chased and threatened by an aggressive left-wing mob.
Some of this is also certainly an overcorrection stemming from reports that the FBI was aware some individuals were traveling to the President’s rally in DC last week with the intention of committing violence. Bowser and other government officials are, of course, very sensitive to accusations that they were not tough enough on right-wing agitators. But let’s not forget that the city’s response to the ‘Summer of Love’ was not to shut down half the city, but to rename an entire block after the activist group responsible for the chaos.