Posted by Brother Bob on 28 October, 2013 at 1:53 pm. 6 comments already!


government shutdown parks

Now that the shutdown is over and the Republicans are done giving the Democrats a much needed distraction from the disaster that the Obamacare rollout has been, we can take a look back on what the biggest takeaway from the entire shutdown was. My lefty pals and I love to spar over a number of issues. While we disagree on almost everything, at least there are elements to their arguments that are defensible, whether it be over Global WarmingClimate Change, the Debt, Obamacare, “Smart Diplomacy”, Gay Marriage, and of course, the recent shutdown of the Federal Government. However much I may disagree with my friends, I can always at least see some element of their argument, whether it be intended outcome, some historical example, potential risk, etc. that has enough merit to be debated and it’s never anything as simple as “I am right and you are wrong.”

Until now.

Even with the shutdown itself, there is room for disagreement. To varying degrees everyone with an opinion on the issue puts the blame with the GOP, the Dems, the President, the Tea Party, or somewhere in between. Again, wherever you fall in this spectrum, whether or not you agree with the other side’s arguments, you can agree that there is some value or substance to their reasoning that is worthy of debate. But there is one element to the shutdown that is about as clear a case of of right and wrong and who is wrong. I am of course, referring to the closure of our National Parks during the shutdown.

Anyone reading is is probably familiar with the National Park Service’s barricading off our National Parks and Memorials. Obviously, this spiteful, petty gesture was done to punish the American people because the president was not getting his way. I put a number of posts on this and various other incidents of Barrycading (nicely summed up byFlopping Aces’ Dr. John) up on my Facebook account, and it got a lot of reactions from my leftist friends. While I expected shots fired at the Tea Party, I was genuinely surprised at how unflinchingly they refused to blame the president or the current administration. It always amazes me for how much leftists like to brag about how pro-science and non-ideological their views are and how they base their opinions on facts, how quickly their minds shut down when you tell them things that they don’t want to hear. The same people who couldn’t get enough detail about the dating habits of the children of a Vice-Presidential candidate in 2008 are now unable to even ask the most basic questions about an issue that could help them understand wrong from right. Without going into my FB timeline and every conversation I remember defenses of the president following a few themes:

“The Tea Party!!!” 

Contrary to what leftists believe, the Tea Party has no control over the National Park Service, or any other Federal agencies, for that matter.

“It’s to protect them from vandalism” 

The memorials are open year round, and as I can attest from my years volunteering as a tour guide on weekends before Baby Bob came along, there is no Park Service presence at the open outdoor Memorials at night or in the event of rain or snow. For that matter, threats of vandalism in DC have diminished greatly since the Occupy Wall Street Movement left town.

“Who will empty the trash cans along the roads and next to these memorials?” 

Volunteers will. The leftist mind has trouble grasping that there are people who think that taking personal responsibility and direct action is a better solution than calling for the government.

“Duh.There’s no money because of the shutdown” 

But there was money to fund the Barrycades and the Rangers assigned to harass tourists? Why not pay those Rangers to help the tourists instead?

And there are other obvious questions that passed over our friends on the left, such as:The Barrycades didn’t go up by themselves. How much cost and planning went into this effort, and how high up did this idea go? How come the National Mall was opened for a rally for Illegal Immigrants? And how come the thieves, vandals, and rapists of the Occupy movement were treated with greater respect than our veterans?

Of all of the Barrycading stories, the one that really hit home with me was of the group of foreign tourists detained at Yellowstone Park:

“The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos. 

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said. 

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door. 

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.” 

My first thought about these tourists is that they should have done more homework on American culture or hired better tour guides. Had they stated that they were here to commit acts of terror or had crossed the US/Mexico border illegally looking to live here there would have been teams of ACLU lawyers swarming the hotel seeking to free them in no time! (Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here through Saturday and at Ceaser’s next week! Be sure to tip your bartenders.)

Kidding aside, I’m not sure how anyone can be anything less than disgusted by our government after reading this. This did not happen under orders of the Tea Party, the agents weren’t volunteering to work without any funding for this gesture, and they weren’t protecting the park from any kind of vandalism. What did surprise me though, is the extent to which my lefty friends defended the Barrycading without so much as a critical word for the administration. At the very least I was expecting maybe a short comment or side message saying something like, “As much as I hate the Tea Party and blame them for this shutdown I can’t believe the administration decided to do this either,” but I didn’t. And that’s not to say that none of them understand this. Part of our back and forth debating includes that time honored tradition of male bonding that comes from snark and good old fashioned ball busting, so maybe keeping that opinion under wraps was just part of not giving me an “in” to mess with them. And I truly hope that this is the case, as these are not some frothing at the mouth leftists we see on TV. These are people I call my friends, and despite our differences I still value and respect their opinions. But what if I’m wrong? What even if these decent, intelligent people are so far gone down the leftist rabbit hole that they truly see no wrongdoing on the part of the administration here?

I figured I’d try a larger sample size and searched three reliably leftist web sites to see if there was any criticism of the Barrycading of the Memorials and that awful detention incident. So I searched the web sites for The Nation, MSNBC, and Daily Kos and found… nothing. Yes, there was coverage but nothing more than straight news stories or finger pointing at the Tea Party and GOP. I wasn’t surprised at this of course, but it raises a more disturbing question. If the moderate leftists have been pulled so far to the left by their ideology’s extremists that they are in complete unity over ignoring such blatant abuse by the government, then what hope is there that we can deal with them in any way shape or form when they have lost even the most basic sense of wrong from right? And what other damage can we expect to this country as long as radicals like Obama, Reid and Pelosi are in charge with equally radical agents in the press covering for them? I don’t think I’ve ever felt more sick about presenting a good argument.

I’ve gotten used to watching the left accept tyranny in the US when it’s being done under a president who they like. The national disgrace that was Guantanamo Bay was soon forgotten after January 2009, the once hated Patriot Act now is now accepted even though it’s scope has expanded to watch many more American citizens, and ugly, obvious abuse by the IRS to politically target some Americans all got the left’s quiet acceptance. This time they’re not only ignoring tyranny – now the left is openly supporting it.

I want to close out with one last piece from the Yellowstone detention incident, from an interview that Michael Graham conducted with one of the tourists:

“There was a large group of Asians there. Not many spoke English . . . They said, ‘Are we under arrest?’ I mean, they were fearful. I mean, it looked like we were inside a prison. There were two large guards doing a walk up and down in front of the doors, so people felt like they were in prison. And the Australians said that would never happen in their country. Never never never.” 

Up until a few weeks ago I would have said the same of the United States.

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

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