OPINION

A scary time for our country

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

What happened at the Capitol last Wednesday was sad; even more, it was frightening. As more details are revealed we know that our Representatives and Senators, along with Vice President Pence, were in grave danger. Those rioters meant to stop the counting of electoral votes—even if it meant murder.

In October 2019, my daughters Sara and Lisa and I went on a short vacation to Washington, D.C. We’re all interested in history and cultures. It was an awesome trip.

We spent most of our time in the Smithsonian museums or visiting the famous memorials around the city. We didn’t tour the Capitol. You have to request tickets (free) in advance from your Senator or Representative. We hadn’t done that and really had limited time anyway.

One late afternoon, as the museums closed for the day, we walked to the Capitol before returning to our hotel. It was shining in the setting sun, a beautiful sight to walk towards.

At the Capitol grounds there were lots of other tourists around—not a packed crowd or anything like that. There is a big lawn in front of the Capitol and people were scattered around, many with cameras trained on the scene to the west, where the setting sun would soon sink behind the Washington Monument.

Deb Moldaschel

We weren’t able to get very close to the Capitol. We stood below the steps and looked up at the famous building—the seat of our government.

There were fence-like barricades in front of those big sets of stairs (you know, the ones that the rioters rushed up) and a few Capitol police officers standing around. Let me tell you, we couldn’t even go up and peek in the door.

I’d like to visit Washington D.C. again some day. If I do, I will certainly request tickets for a tour of the Capitol.

No doubt, Wednesday  and the following days last week had to be crazy days at the Capitol for the people who work there.

We are part of the USA TODAY network of newspapers and they were trying to gather stories from lawmakers about what they experienced during the attack on the Capitol. Not their political opinion, their personal experience. They asked us to reach out to our Congressional representatives.

I called Rep. Hagedorn’s office, starting with the Mankato office number. No answer, a full voice mailbox. I called the Washington, D.C. number. No answer, no voice mailbox set up. I tried to figure out how to send an email to his office (good luck, I never made it through that maze.)

I got an email with a press release from Rep. Hagedorn. It was his explanation of why he voted against certifying the electoral college votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. (He doesn’t approve of  changes made to election procedures, due to the pandemic, without state legislative approval.)

I tried replying to that email, but wasn’t sure what would happen as it was a mass email to the press. Let’s just say I wasn’t able to ask Hagedorn about his experience for the USA TODAY article.

This Tuesday morning I did get a reply from Hagedorn’s communications office. They sent me the press release again (not what I asked about.)

I had another question for Hagedorn. I asked if he had concerns about his own election, as Minnesota also made changes to the election procedures like those he didn’t approve of in other states.

No answer.