Cry, my beloved U.S. Capitol


To the editor:

Awestruck and proud. Those were my emotions at 15, on my first visit to Washington, D.C., as I walked into the Capitol’s almost-sacred grand rotunda.

Here was where democracy happened. Where our elected representatives worked with each other to make our country the best. What a symbol of the United States of America!

My emotions ran high, too, on Jan. 6, 2021. I’d turned on the television to see what certification of an election was all about. A mob was moving toward the Capitol. What? What is going on? I stood up. Oh my G-d! “What are these people doing?” 

They were climbing the walls leading up to the domed building. Shocked, horrified, I sank back into my chair. I cried. Quiet tears turned into sobbing, breathless choking, even wailing. My heart pounded. My reaction was visceral.

I watched as images grew increasingly brutal while the nation’s leader — oh, I was counting down the days until he would no longer be its leader — refused to stop his treasonous fans. A gruesome scene of a policeman stuck in a door being crushed by rioters.

Members of congress crawling under their seats. Marauders who did not deserve to carry the American flag breaking windows and doors, pushing into the rotunda.

As months passed, there was a limit to how many times I could watch those images. It was like: How many times can one watch planes crash into the World Trade Center? More painful, these were fellow Americans! And, just when we thought we’d heard it all, more dumbfounding, ugly, criminal acts surfaced — stuff that could not be made up.

Surely the investigative committee had uncovered more disgusting deeds. I decided not to watch the Jan. 6 hearings. “Why not?” friends asked. “I do not want to get even angrier than I already am,” I said, jaw clenched. 

One evening, the top of the news showed a brave young woman, Cassidy  Hutchinson, relating tales she’d sworn were true. Channel surfing later, I stopped at C-SPAN, airing the entirety of Hutchinson’s testimony. More sickening, though not surprising, stories about all the president’s immoral men.

Hutchinson is a hero. So is Liz Cheney, drawing out the truth that so many of her Republican Party did not want spoken. 

While I hadn’t wanted to watch the hearings, I was glad I saw Hutchinson and Cheney. I am grateful to them. They gave me even the smallest microscopic bit of hope.

Maybe, after all, our democracy will not crumble, but like our Capitol, continue to stand firm?   

Muriel Adams