Thursday, May 6, 2021 -
Print Edition

Freedom from fear


Soon into my high school years in suburban Maryland, my friends and I figured out how easy it was to take advantage of the sheer number of public monuments, buildings and museums in Washington, DC. We explored them all, from the Smithsonians to the Jefferson Memorial to the Capitol building. The area is one of this nation’s highlights and a gift from the government to its people.

I was relieved to see that many others feel the same, and were dismayed by the fencing around our nation’s Capitol. Not only did it diminish Washington’s green spaces, but it sent a message of fear. I was deeply disturbed by the events of January 6, but I am not of the opinion that a permanent fence — which some politicians advocate — be erected around our Capitol. Too often major crises have been used to strengthen the security-industrial complex, with the result being that citizens’ rights are slowly encroached upon. A democracy must create a balance between security and liberties. We must be careful not to overcorrect in either direction when faced with a major security breach.

I don’t want our nation’s Capitol to resemble US embassies abroad: hideous concrete structures behind impenetrable walls and gates. That’s the not the America I want to live in.

Now I read that Colorado is planning the same — a permanent wrought iron fence around our State Capitol. It’s based on the security threat posed by rioters and looters last summer.

I would propose instead: Avoid the situation where rioters and looters are permitted to own the streets, as they were last summer in Denver. Building the fence is giving into lawlessness. Worse, it projects the sense that this city is teetering on the brink. Working three blocks from the Capitol, I don’t think this is the reality.

At Passover, we celebrate the liberation of the Israelites from bondage to freedom. Freedom is not only a matter of circumstance — it’s a mental state. What I’m ready to be free of is the climate of fear that has become so pervasive. The biggest gift the vaccine rollout has given me is a strong sense of fear-lifting. We can’t permanently live in bunkers, nor behind fences.

I hope our lawmakers feel the same.

Shana Goldberg may be reached at

Copyright © 2021 by the Intermountain Jewish News

IJN Assistant Publisher |

Leave a Reply