The Capitol Steps

On these beautiful summer days, spending lunch in East Capitol Park is a pleasure. This is the side with the Philip Sheridan statue, not the food truck side, so it’s relatively peaceful, and there are always tourists stopping for pictures in front of the Capitol.

It’s nice to see visitors so interested in the Capitol — but not so nice to see the barriers that keep people off the staircase.

Known as the “Eastern Approach,” the 77 steps are among of the most inmpressive things about the Capitol’s grand exterior. It’s said that Teddy Roosevelt would race up them in the morning, offering interviews to any reporters who could beat him to the top. Today, they’d also have to vault the steel fences that blockade the stairs and ruin the view.

I’d like to know what this is all about. Are the steps unsafe — or is this some sort of security precaution? Either way, it’s a shame. The steps should be open so we can all make that climb and take in the view. I’ve been up there, and it’s an impressive sight.

The barricades send a message, too. Look don’t touch — you’re not worthy to come up here with us. And even if we let you climb the stairs, the doors at the top will be locked, anyway.

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