On social media many people have been posting about the closings and denying of access to National Parks, various monuments, and other venues as a result of the government shutdown. The vast majority of stuff I have seen blames the President, but it really doesn’t matter who you care to blame based on personal ideology.
You would think that it costs more to place the barricades, deny access, and remove those already within. Sadly, we do not live in that type of ideal world where every individual at these parks, monuments, and other venues acts with what many of us would deem common courtesy and basic respect for others. It is a statement about some of the issues faced when a single individual can cause any degree of damage to one of these locations. Even with security, the Lincoln Memorial and National Cathedral among others were defaced earlier this year. Here is a Fox article.
What if an individual took acid, a steel pipe, or some explosive device to an open air memorial such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall?
Would the financing be available to repair or replace that which was destroyed? Would that replacement have the same sentimental value to those who served with the individuals recognized or the friends and family members?
That’s an illogical assumption some say, well what is the likelihood of an individual setting himself on fire on the National Mall?
Even if the variables of mental illness or just individual wanting to do a malicious act could be taken from the equation, more basic issues remain. How many of you are surprised as to the number of people who will not walk to a garbage can to dispose of cups, food wrappers, and whatever? Littering is something that my grandparents and parents never tolerated. Drop something, and I would be picking it up regardless of if I dropped it purposely from spite or laziness or unintentionally. Just because someone else may have discarded the object was not an acceptable excuse to not pick it up if I saw it.
Some people did not have such an upbringing. Even if you do wait and throw trash away in the vast number of trash receptacles and garbage bags throughout that area of the Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, World War II, Vietnam, and Korean Memorials among others think of how quickly a garbage can or bag fills up. At this moment, the only reason the trash is being removed from these public memorials in DC is because the DC government has taken on the responsibility using their own funding reserve. Remember that unlike states, the local government in DC receives its revenue from the Federal government.
Closing an open venue, not allowing someone to go into the ocean or various waters in the parks to fish may seem unreasonable. Unfortunately, there are people who will not accept the rights of others and others through their own fault or by being in the wrong place at the wrong time who may need assistance because of an accident or injury. That assistance would only be available if another volunteered their services. While it might be mathematically possible, is it practical to think that enough volunteers could be found to provide for the vast numbers who use these Federal services?
Honestly, I think we have some spoiled children on Capitol Hill. At times I would say 535 children, but I think a few are starting to get tired of the selfish and petty games.
Blame Democrat or Republican, but how many feel that their disagreements should have waited to the last minute? In prior years we saw the Senate failing to draft a budget. When they finally did this year, the House refused 18 requests to enter the reconciliation process. Now the House is upset over the Senate not agreeing to conference on this piecemeal approach they adopted which merely prolongs dealing with the problems. Those who want spending cut, why be upset about the restrictions now on these memorials and Federal parks? Those services would be cut. On paper the process appears easy, but in reality someone will feel they have been wronged or will be hurt. Somehow we all need to accept that we are in such a hole that everyone is going to have to leave something in order for anyone to climb out.
Seriously, nothing will be solved until the House and Senate are willing to work together to represent the United States of America and not some political party or some special interest groups creating scorecards. I leave the President out of the blame solely based on the Constitutional authorities granted to the respective Branches. It really doesn’t matter who the President happens to be when the House can find time to vote 70 plus times on legislation they know will never pass. It really doesn’t matter who the President happens to be when the Senate is not actively pursuing solutions to real problems. When both Chambers only find urgency in pushing legislation to prevent their own flights from the possibility of delay for their own recess, what could any President do?
This report from WJLA helps illustrate the issue of the closings.