Letter to the editor: Awe-inspiring Capitol

To the editor:

I had the pleasure last week of participating in an Osher Institute tour of historical Topeka. We enjoyed visiting Constitution Hall and the Brown v. Board of Education museum, but I was most impressed by our tour of the Kansas State Capitol. It was refurbished over a period of years and at considerable expense, and the result is somewhere between beautiful and stunning. The high point for me was stepping out on the balcony of the House of Representatives chamber.

This large room has been restored to its original charm and grandeur. There are light grays and soft blues on the walls, beautifully finished light colored woodwork, marble panels. There are brightly colored paintings on the ceiling once covered with tobacco smoke and soot. The overhead again soars above this grand chamber where once it was hidden by a low “modern” false ceiling lit with fluorescent lights.

I felt a visceral charge, an unexpected emotional response to this room where decisions are made that affect all of us. The chamber represents an ideal of architecture and design suggesting an ideal of responsible and imaginative work for the Legislature. It stands as a challenge to us to continue to reach for the ideals we profess to hold in our imperfect but precious democracy.

I do believe that our nation still stands. Our democracy persists. Despite turmoil and threats, our flag is still there. We must not trade our ideals for ill-informed cynicism. What we the people do does matter. What we each do still does matter.

Joe Douglas,



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