In May, I wrote about the travesty of the Supreme Court doors–closed for ever, it seems, because security experts have decided it’s safer to bring people through a ground-level, side entrance. The damage to the narrative experience of Cass Gilbert’s building is horrible. The damage to the United States, symbolically, incalculable. But in this Sunday’s Washington Post I write about a small bit of good news: A resolution, introduced in the House of Representatives, calling the Court to open the doors. Perhaps this the beginning of a new chapter in the debate about security, not just a conversation about architecture and security, but a chance to consider how institutions, bureaucracies, find courage:
Individuals may find courage within themselves, but when it comes to institutions, courage can be injected only from without. A congressional resolution about a security decision at another branch of government is, at the very least, an outside challenge to do better, to live up to professed ideals. But perhaps it can gin up courage, the way soldiers on a battlefield find a collective courage that is stronger than any singular fortitude. It is a reminder that, as said the president under whose watch the Supreme Court doors were first opened, the most frightening of our enemies is fear.
Let’s hope so.