The optics of a wall and armed troops around their Capitol are, and should be, shocking to Americans. But from the perspective of one who has been to the Capitol many times—but not for years—it was a foreseeable development.
Decades ago, you could go to House and Senate office buildings and walk around freely. You could even approach by taxi and not have far to walk. You could enter any office, converse with the receptionist, leave a calling card and written material, and often be allowed to speak with a staffer.
I was never a lobbyist, just a citizen, often speaking on behalf of a group of doctors about the impact of government in flyover country. Medical groups might have a meeting near Capitol Hill, then fan out to visit congressional offices. We held staff briefings, sometimes with a congressman on the panel.
One day I looked at the sickly looking shrub in a “planter” outside an important building. “That looks like a tank barrier,” I said. The attorney I was with looked amused. “Of course it is.”
Other doctors and I tried to explain how the flood of rules made it impossible to practice good medicine. We analyzed legislation: the Health Security Act (ClintonCare), HIPAA, PPACA or ACA (ObamaCare), MACRA, etc.—bills getting ever longer and more complex, with their acronyms incorporated into everyday talk long after everyone has forgotten what they stand for or what they were supposed to do. Nobody had read the bills they voted for.
I also spoke about national security issues from a physician’s standpoint—the lack of strategic or civil defense, pandemic preparedness, and electric grid security.
Over the years, Capitol security became tighter. No books allowed. Your congressman’s office door might be locked, with a note to put your message through the mail slot, which was also locked. To go to a hearing in the Capitol, you had to have an escort.
On Jan 6, a huge number of citizens, who still imagined that they could “make their voices heard,” went confidently to Washington. In my opinion, it is not a good idea to be in a crowd, which could turn into an irrational mob—especially in these days of well-trained, well-organized, well-funded paid radical agitators. Some of the group streamed into the “People’s House,” now the sacred citadel of “Democracy,” where they profaned the Holy of Holies. A few committed violence, some property was damaged, and some congressmen felt afraid. It wasn’t like Minneapolis, Seattle, or Portland, but it is sacred ground.
Apparently, one of the most dangerous people there was a physician and mother, Dr. Simone Gold. She was armed only with a megaphone and left peaceably. The FBI pursued her home to California, where they smashed in her front door, shackled her, and kept her in a cage overnight. Her message: a plea to stop the deaths from COVID by prescribing early treatment—a message Big Tech is trying to suppress.
The Trump supporters have gone home, so why do we need the wall and the National Guard? They would be useless against a Chinese or Russian missile. But they might work against protesters armed with the proverbial pitchforks. Such as the more than 8,000 highly trained and well-paid pipeline workers who, with a stroke of Biden’s pen, lost their salary, their union medical benefits, and their future. Someday John Kerry might look like the French aristocrats prior to the storming of the Bastille: “Let them make solar panels”—in competition with Chinese workers who may earn slave wages even if not literally enslaved.
Americans, in the shadow of the wall, are learning that we are all in this together—except for the elite who continue to draw their salaries from the bureaucracies and the legislators who vote for laws written by special interests who invest millions in campaign contributions to reap billions in benefits.
The pretense that we still have a voice in Washington has been demolished. But one thing the wall cannot stop is the truth—for all the elite’s attempts at censorship. The most powerful truths at present may be that hundreds of thousands may die needlessly of COVID for lack of early treatment, and still more will die without access to reliable, affordable energy.
About the author: Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is currently president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, and the second through fifth editions of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis published by Wolters Kluwer. She authored books for schoolchildren, Professor Klugimkopfâ€™s Old-Fashioned English Grammar and Professor Klugimkopfâ€™s Spelling Method, published by Robinson Books, and coauthored two novels published as Kindle books, Neomorts and Moonshine. More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.