The Pisgah Inn, a private hotel, restaurant and store located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, has become a symbol of government ineptitude during the shutdown. The Pisgah Inn sits on leased federal land, and as such was ordered to be shut down this week by the National Parks Service. However, the Blue Ridge Parkway would remain open, meaning that traffic would continue to flow right past the Inn, even though the Inn would be shuttered.
The owner and managers of the Inn decided Friday morning that they would defy the government’s request to close, and that they would open their store and restaurant to guests. It only took about two hours for the federal government to notice what was going on and send in their NPS goons (Park Rangers). The Park Rangers parked their vehicles in the entrance of the Pisgah Inn, not allowing any vehicles to enter the parking lot. After a short while, the Inn owner and general manager decided to close up shop. The Park Rangers were told to remain in position for as long as needed.
The insanity of their position reveals itself in multiple ways. First, the government is actually spending more money and resources to ensure that the Pisgah Inn stays closed, than they were allowing it to stay open. By sending park rangers with their vehicles to make sure no one enjoys the Pisgah Inn, which is a private business, they are defeating the purpose of the shutdown. Secondly, the Pisgah Inn is a private business, which means that the shutdown will hurt them more than the federal workers that politicians always claim get hurt by these shutdowns. See, when the shutdown ends, everyone who was furloughed will very likely get back pay. However, at the Pisgah Inn… no worker will ever see back pay. Third, the Blue Ridge Parkway is remaining open, which means it hurts no one to allow the Pisgah Inn to remain open. The federal government doesn’t have to monitor what is happening at the Inn; they don’t have to pay to keep the land up, they don’t need to send janitors to clean the bathrooms, or even rangers to monitor the entrance. The Pisgah Inn runs itself.
Why would the government do this? Why would the NPS decide the Pisgah Inn needs to be closed?
One simple reason. Our leaders in the White House and at the NPS are petulant, vindictive people. They don’t like that Republicans are asking for negotiations over the budget, debt ceiling and Obamacare – so they want to make life as hard for everyone else as possible. This is what we’ve come to. America has elected leaders who are juvenile and rancorous, and now we are dealing with the repercussions from that.
Sadly, even the national attention on the issue is not causing the White House to back down. We know that these closings are an orchestrated event being led by people in the highest positions of government. How do we know that? These ridiculous closings are happening all over the country – in different regions managed by different branches of the NPS. In Florida, the NPS tried to close the ocean. In Washington, D.C. they closed open-air memorials that are basically connected to sidewalks. They closed a private park that receives no government funding or personnel and had remained open through 17 other shutdowns over the last 40 years.
I think the closing quote to the above video is the best way to end this story. “…It makes no sense. It’s just government trying to make it (the shutdown) as painful as possible.” Exactly.
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