In response to security threats in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the U.S. Capitol was made less accessible to the public through a series of security upgrades, including an expansion of the Capitol Police force, new visitor registration programs, and the construction and implementation of physical barriers in and around the Capitol building itself. However, increased safety for members and staff has had consequences for the important symbolic representation that the Capitol building itself provides. As Parkinson (2009, 10) notes: “Capital cities are, by design, by usage or both, symbols of national institutions, values, myths, and norms – they contain such symbols and they are, in their own right, such symbols.” In this essay, we argue that by repeatedly prioritizing public displays of security over public access, Congress has inadvertently contributed to the alienation Americans feel from their government, with implications for January 6 and beyond.
Rosenthal, Alisa J. and Bell, Lauren C.
"The Temple of Liberty as Fort Knox: The Securitization of Democratic Space in the U.S. Capitol,"
eJournal of Public Affairs: Vol. 11:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://bearworks.missouristate.edu/ejopa/vol11/iss1/6