Currents News Staff
On a day meant to commemorate Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for freedom and equality, the United States is in crisis.
The U.S. Capitol is fortified and on high alert. 21,000 troops are now in our nation’s capital, screened by the FBI to prevent against any insider threats.
More than half a century after King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and shared his dream for the future, barbed wire and checkpoints barricade the National Mall, while tens of thousands of national guards troops stand watch.
“We’re part of the layered defense to ensure that the bubble, the bubble that will be around the vice president-elect and the president-elect, so that we can have a peaceful transfer of power,” explained Major General William Walker, Washington D.C. National Guard Commander.
But after a violent mob seized the U.S. capitol, some worry about extremism in the ranks.
“There were military people and police who took oaths to defend the Constitution and to protect and defend who didn’t do it who were in the insurrection, so it does concern me,” said Democratic Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
To alleviate concerns, all national guard troops deployed to D.C. have to go through additional layers of screening.
“The FBI is part of it, the Secret Service is part of it, and once they are certain that there’s no insider threat, then that soldier, guardsman or airman is given a credential,” said Walker.
The head of the D.C. National Guard says the vetting process hasn’t flagged any issues with incoming troops.
“We want to make sure that everybody in this bubble of security that we’re providing has the privilege to be there,” Walked added.
Yet, more work needs to be done to make the United States less divided
“We’ve got to do a better job of listening to each other, understanding where the frustrations are and how we find that common ground,” said Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan.