If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last week or so, you’ve noticed the big to-do about the National Parks Service (NPS) closing the WWII Memorial. The NPS claims it was a completely routine procedure that happened because of the government shutdown. Their version of the story rings false however, when you consider the simple truth that the WWII Memorial is an open air monument. There is no attendant taking tickets, no janitor sweeping the halls and cleaning the toilets. The memorial is simply an area of concrete and grass, just of the road in Washington, D.C.
In fact, in their efforts to close of the monument and keep out the people who wish to pay their respects and remember our heroes from WWII, the NPS has had to expend more resources than they would have needed to simply do nothing. If it seems like the NPS is acting like a petulant child throwing a tantrum because his parents aren’t paying him enough attention… it’s because that’s exactly what’s happening. It’s not the first time they’ve done this either. The NPS likes to use opportunities like this to insert itself into the political arena in an effort to support their favored parent, the Democrat Party.
Gale Norton, who served as the secretary of the Department of the Interior under President George W. Bush recently gave an interview to the National Review Online where she summarized the problems the NPS has had with staying out of politics.
“The National Parks Service has a long history of dramatizing budget issues by inconveniencing the public… They often choose the most dramatic type of action in order to get their message across. It’s something I had to guard against when I was secretary — not letting them play budget games.
I can see why there are places that need to be closed — historic areas that need to be protected. But when you’re talking about open-air memorials, or scenic, natural areas – those types of areas can be open to the public without the need for much monitoring… NPS has a choice to make between amplifying the political message, and making commonsense arrangements to avoid inconveniencing visitors. I don’t see many commonsense solutions.
Given the fact that they have closed so much, and acted so broadly, I imagine that decision was made at the highest levels of park service leadership, in cooperation with department leadership and the White House.”
The NPS is doing what it sees as acting in its own best interests. It has taken the side of the Democrat Party who it sees as a natural ally, because they are freer with funding, and chosen to try to make the shutdown as painful as possible in an effort to harm the Republican Party. The NPS has no reason to close open-air memorials or sections of highway that need little to no monitoring, and yet that’s exactly what they’ve done. In some cases, they’ve even closed parks that are privately funded and run!
The NPS has ordered the closure of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, even though the farm is run completely with private funds and volunteers. In fact, the farm has remained open through every other government shutdown of the last forty years! The NPS chose to send agents out to evict visitors and make sure the privately run park shut down. The NPS actually used more people to shut the place down (and keep it closed) than they use to run the facility! It’s utter madness.
The WWII memorial closing is nothing but political theater being acted out by President Obama and his minions at the National Parks Service. They are using more resources to close facilities than they would use to keep them open, and it’s all in an effort to make this game play out the way the President and the Democrat Party want it to. The leaders of the NPS and the media who should be exposing them should all be ashamed at their parts in this disgusting display of politics.
American citizens who pay large chunks of their hard earned money to support these sites are being shut out, not because of the government shutdown, but because someone at the NPS wants to earn some points with the President.