Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, DC jokingly denied releasing five zebras recently found roaming neighborhoods in the district despite her “recent opposition to fencing.” She opposed the security fences surrounding the United States Capitol.
The zebras have escaped from a herd of 39 newly imported zebras at the private farm, Bellefields in Prince George County, Md., WUSA reported. The zebras roamed the quarters for several days as animal control officers attempted to lure and recapture them in an enclosed space.
Norton explained that when the animals fled, she was at home spending some quiet time with her family. Therefore, she could not have let go of the zebras, despite her well-known opposition to fences.
“My alibi is solid,” she writes, “but given my career as a fighter for statehood for the district, which includes years of explaining the importance of having the consent of the governed, and given my recent opposition to the fences, I can understand why the charge was made. “
“I hope that the owners find the zebras and that all participants live long and fulfilling lives,” she added.
While no one had seriously accused her of freeing the zebras, she provided an alibi to draw attention to a bigger problem: Washington State.
Norton represents the District of Columbia at the US House. Although she can draft a bill, she cannot vote. As such, the citizens of DC face “taxation without representation”. They pay federal taxes, but cannot vote on federal policies that affect them.
In addition, Congress can override laws passed by elected district officials or approved by local voters. Congress can choose to veto them with the President’s approval or to deny funding, thereby killing them. As such, Congress blocks the district’s ability to govern itself.
For example, Congress denied funding for a marijuana legalization measure approved by 65% of DC voters in 2014. Congress also denied funding to help low-income women access abortion. a district initiative.
Additionally, Norton used his “alibi” to emphasize his opposition to fences, namely the security fences that surrounded the United States Capitol.
The fence was erected after the January 6 Capitol riots. During the riots, hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the federal building in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the electoral victory of current President Joe Biden.
In February, Norton introduced the “No Fencing at the United States Capitol Complex Act”. The law would have prohibited the installation of permanent fences on the grounds of the Capitol.
“While I agree that more needs to be done to protect the Capitol complex …” she said when presenting her legislation, “the Capitol complex has become an impassable fortress surrounded by spooky fences capped with barbed wire, typical of authoritarian regimes “.
She called the fences a “theater of safety” which makes the Capitol “look” safe but masked[s] the lack of advanced security measures that could effectively prevent attacks in the future. “
She also said the fence sends the message that American democracy fears its own citizens.
“Already, the distance between the government and the people has widened, with confidence in the government at historically low levels,” she added. “We shouldn’t widen that distance any further by placing intimidating barriers between ourselves as public servants and the people we serve. “
In July, Norton’s office declared victory when the Capitol removed its security fence. However, Capitol Police have announced plans to possibly reinstall temporary fencing for the “Justice for J6” rally on September 18.
The rally will bring together far-right groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. Protesters will demand “justice” for the hundreds of suspected insurgents arrested in the January 6 riots.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said the fence was “not necessarily” part of the plan to defend the Capitol on the day of the protest.
Five people died in the January 6 uprising and around 140 police officers were injured. Police injuries include a broken spine, lost eye, lost fingers, brain damage, and multiple cases of PTSD. Two Capitol Police officers have died by suicide since the insurgency.
During the ransacking of the Capitol, rioters smashed windows trying to gain access to the chambers of Congress, spread excrement in the hallway and stole computer equipment, potentially constituting a violation of national security.
News week contacted Norton’s office for comment.