The idea of extending the current extreme security measures on the Hill indefinitely has done the seemingly impossible — achieved bipartisan condemnation. D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, and Michigan representative Lisa McClain, a Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, have both spoken out against this prospect. Neither so far has been able to get any answers about what’s coming next.
Reportedly, Salesses is meeting on Wednesday with officials from other law-enforcement agencies to discuss next steps. But that so many have been kept in the dark is disturbing. The post hoc changes and overall murkiness strongly suggest a reflex to let a (perhaps understandable) initial overreaction transform into a new status quo, as too often happens.
The large-scale presence of National Guardsmen on the Hill should end. These troops have done their duty admirably, but it’s time to go home. New security protocols may be necessary at the Capitol — certainly the police should be better prepared for protests that might run out of control — but they should be carefully thought-through and calibrated. And they shouldn’t include a tall razor-wire fence that symbolically separates our elected representatives from the people they serve.