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Traveler's View: The Arrogance Of Congress


Travelers who crossed the world to see the wonders of Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks, only to be greeted by closure gates.

Vacationers who could gaze out the windows of their lodgings onto the flanks of Mount Rainier, or into the florid forests of Shenandoah National Park, told to pack up and leave in 48 hours.

Gateway communities and businesses large and small that make their livelihoods around the grandeur of national parks being asked for refunds and to cancel reservations.

Tens of thousands of workers, both federally and locally employed, cast aside as pawns caught up in a dispute that shouldn't have taken root.

Concessionaires are reticent to discuss the financial blow they're taking, but it can only be considered significant.

"...the impact is significant to our business in the national parks. Even more troubling is the potential loss of income to thousands of the company's employees who work in our national park operations," said one. "Also, the shutdown is impacting numerous businesses in the gateway regions of national parks in addition to companies that operate in the parks."

The arrogance of Congress in managing the fiscal affairs of the United States is withering and shameful. For a body once viewed as august, the partisan bickering on display should bring pause not only to those who elected them but even to those who sit in the halls of Congress.

The need to either pass an appropriations package for Fiscal 2014, or a Continuing Resolution, didn't arise in the past week, or the past month. That the Congress took its August recess with this pressing matter unresolved is unconscionable. To come back for townhall meetings and hear constituents plead with them to keep government afloat and the national parks open, only to forget those requests, is beyond shameful.

“It’s not the people blaming the National Park Service. The National Park Service did not do this. They cannot be blamed for this. Our congressmen who are still getting their paychecks can be blamed for this," said Marian DeLay, executive director of the Moab (Utah) Area Travel Council.

Whether you agree with the Rasmussen Reports' finding that just 7 percent of likely voters think Congress is doing a "good or excellent" job, or Gallup's latest report that 76 percent of the public disapprove of the job our elected senators and representatives are doing, the politicians' seeming disregard of those numbers is contemptible.

“If they’re operating under the illusion that they’re pleasing people....I don’t know who that is," Marysue Costello, executive director of the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday after trying to explain to visitors from Australia why they couldn't stand before Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

In Arizona, a family from Japan that had traveled across the world to stand in awe before the grandest canyon in the world was stopped short as the gates to Grand Canyon National Park came down early Tuesday. Bus tours carrying visitors from Germany and Canada pulled into Moab, Utah, only to learn Arches and Canyonlands national parks were closed.

Is this how we greet the world?

Yosemite National Park celebrated its 123rd birthday on October 1, and its "present" was closure.

Is this how we celebrate "America's Best Idea"?

Let those who stand in the way of resolving the impasse return home and stand in front of their constituents and say they acted in the country's best interests.

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OK, moving on folks, moving on.

Gee Lee, I thought the Obamacare supporters were claiming the anti-Obamacare group was trying to help the insurance companies. So if Obamacare is good for the insurance companies are you now against it?

Typical defense of the defenseless. Attack the poster and/or the source but ignore that facts.

Sometimes, the names people choose to use when posting comments on websites speak volumes about them. So, too, do the links they post. Try this one from Infowars, for example:

Get your cameras ready!

(I just emailed Dr. Smith and asked him to comment on the validity of this article. If he replies, I'll post it here.)

Opinion from an astute observer of American politics: Yes Lee, he's conservative but wasn't always. Probably doesn't make him either a boob or sycophant...

The National Park Service erected barricades to shut down parking lots surrounding Mount Vernon despite the fact that the tourist destination is privately owned, another example of how the feds are deliberately worsening the government shut down.

Does the NPS want us to believe that the President ordered these closures? I think the mentally ill within the NPS are doing this stuff on their own. A serious look at DOI/NPS leadership will be demanded after this fiasco is over. This is spiteful and unneccessary!

No one including the NPS will look good after this fiasco is over.

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