Friday, October 4, 2013

"We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can."

In a political commentary on the shutdown of National Memorials, Monuments, Parks and Forests Wesley Pruden brings us this important piece of information:

“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

In the meantime, Veterans from my generation had a way of handling the closure of their monument.
Like the hundreds of World War II veterans who came to National Mall to pay their respects this week, a group of Vietnam veterans found a barricade blocking the way to their memorial Friday. News4's Mark Segraves said two U.S. Park Service Rangers manning the gate asked that the group respect the government's shutdown but moved aside.

Segraves described the exchange as pleasant and respectful.

The veterans then moved the barricade and walked down to the wall to pay their respects. But a flood of tourists followed even though the memorial is closed to the general public.

Civil Disobedience seems to be the order of the day for Veterans.  Should we not emulate their example and take our Parks and Forests back?


  1. although it's technically civil disobedience, I can't imagine in my wildest fantasies some knucklehead in the government actually telling vets that they can't visit war memorials. Although, when you think about it, maybe the civil disobedience isn't only with those who are moving the barrycades, but those who are "making as hard as possible" on the people in order to not only bring the shutdown to an end, but to remind the government as a whole, Executive and Congressional just who they really work for.

  2. Initially, the Veterans were threatend with arrest:

    "However yesterday when the federal government began its first day of a shutdown, which began following the refusal of Democrats to negotiate with Republicans over a continuing resolution to fund the government, park officials announced that the National Mall would be closed to tourists and barricaded it off. This was done despite the fact that the mall, which contains such things as the Jefferson Memorial is completely outdoors and available to the public to simply stroll along while viewing the memorials.

    The White House as well as the Department of the Interior rejected a request from Rep. Steven Palazzo’s office to permit World War II veterans to visit the World War II Memorial."

    It was then that several republican lawmakers met the Veterans at the memorial and distracted the guards so that they could get through:

    "WASHINGTON — A group of veterans didn’t let the federal government shutdown stop them from seeing the World War II Memorial on Tuesday.

    The government had closed the memorial due to the partial shutdown of the government, which went into effect Tuesday morning. But with the assistance of lawmakers, a group of Honor Flight World War II veterans knocked over the barriers to see the site."

    Tha night, the Park Service wired the Barrycades together, making them more difficult to move. As another group of Veterans showed up, Republican lawmakers did again, this time aremed with bolt cutters:

    "A group of Texas congressmen armed with bolt cutters made their way to the World War II Memorial in Washington after they learned the National Park Service had reinforced the barriers blocking the site with wire."

    Several days ago, Viet Nam Veterans were asked to leave thier monument. Park and DC police showed uo, the DC polie had a police dog with them. Over the weekend, WW2 Veterans removed the barrycades that prevented people from visiting the Iwo Jima Monument--significant as one of those was a waterfilled vehicle barricade taht had to be emptied of water first.

    It is clear that the intention of the Adminsitration, as evidenced by direct orders from the White House, was to deny access to these memorials to Veterans. And it can logically be inferred that the reason for doing so was to pin the blame on Republicans. However, when it came time to let Veterans in to see their memorial, it was Republican lawmakers who showed up with bolt cutters while Democrats decried it as "grandstanding."

    It wasn't until the Civl Disobedience occured, along with the bad publicity that comes from massive government over reach that the knuckeheads at the White House (who issued theinitial order) decided it ws a bad idea to tell vets they can't visit war memorials.

    Today, only veterans are allowed in the Memorial, There is an opening in the Barrycades there that is just barely wide enough for a wheelchair to get through, all the other Barrycades have been wired together. Yesterday, a rally was held on the Mall adjacent to the Memorial by supports of Amnesty for Illegal aliens, complete with stages, a sound system and booths for different groups, Nobody was prevented from going to that event. Nobody checked to see if people walking across the mall at that location were part of the demonstration. They did, however, check the ID of any family members who want to go see the WW2 Monument with Paw Paw.

    As a Veteran who was spit on in a New Jersey airport in 1972, I am familiar with the fact that it is a poltical philosophy that motivates such conduct. These are people who beleive in the Power of Government---not the Power of Government to Do Good, just the Power of Government.