No body search. No metal detectors. Citizens and visitors are free one and all to enter. How strange that this should feel a special privilege.
There is something more than a little bit inspiring about walking into a good state capitol. Wisconsin's is a lovely marble and dark wood replica of the DC prototype. Towering and spacious and echoing, it feels like some temple of democracy.
Mobs of school kids on field trips file in, then scatter like excited molecules under the rotunda, taking snapshots and running in ecstatic circles. Their yelling and laughter echoing through the halls.
I sit and watch the multitude pass through, an Indian family, the nose-ring mohawk dude, overworked school tour guides and overpaid lobbyists and lots of sturdy-looking midwesterners. It's nearly enough to thaw a cynic's heart.
The dome towers in classic geometric perfection. At its apex, a romantic vision of liberty herself. She is draped in a white robe and bedecked in flags and 11 lovely maidens in various stages of entanglement and undress. The maidens represent the states'..um..attributes. It's all a bit sapphic, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I was informed later that the mural was in fact Edwin Blashfield's "Resources of Wisconsin." For one, I can’t fault the man for taking a dull task and running with it.