Naturally, the tale's moral differs according to who's telling it.
The government might be shut down Saturday morning, but that did not stop Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke from doing his job.
Early in the morning, Zinke could be found cleaning up trash on the National Mall and welcoming tours of schoolchildren to the World War II memorial with a smile.
“We’re not putting up barricades,” Zinke told The Daily Caller in an interview. “Absolutely not. We’re passing out [park] brochures until we run out of brochures. I’ll be out here every day.”
Zinke, and much of the federal government, has had the vast majority of staff furloughed due to the government shutdown.
The last government shutdown was in 2013 under the Obama administration. For that shutdown, the Department of Interior made the controversial decision to close public parks, monuments and battlefields. The decision led to some comical and ultimately sad stories of children having their D.C. school trips canceled and veterans not being able to visit monuments built in their honor.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, Zinke met with public affairs and maintenance staff to run through a plan to keep memorials on the National Mall open. He then spoke with garbagemen who will be picking up trash on the Mall one last time before the city of D.C. takes over for them.
Zinke then got into his car and drove to the WWII memorial to greet visitors and hand out maps and helped with directions. “I spent the morning walking around, giving brochures out,” Zinke said. “I got a lot of thanks from both sides of the aisle. We will not weaponize our public lands.”
“The visitor experience will be diminished,” Zinke admitted, noting that some museums and public service will take a hit during the shutdown. “But to the degree possible, we will keep our public lands open. They should not be used as a political weapon.”
Zinke said public parks, monuments and the battlefields “belong to the people and not the government,” and noted that people will see a “significant difference” between the Trump administration and Obama’s in the way public lands are managed during a shutdown.
Heather Swift, the official spokesperson for Interior, said in a press release:
National Parks and other public lands will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures. The American public and especially our veterans who come to our nation’s capital are finding war memorials and open air parks open to the public.We are prioritizing access to the most accessible and most iconic areas of parks and public lands. Each park, monument, recreation area, etc will have different plans in place.
And from the left, "Trump puts politics ahead of public safety [!!!!] Huffington Post.
Former Interior Department officials warn the move endangers both visitors and America’s priceless resources.
WASHINGTON — As a government shutdown grew increasingly likely this week, the Trump administration scrambled to find a way to keep America’s national parks and monuments open — albeit without rangers, restrooms and other visitor services.
While the federal government appears woefully unprepared for a shutdown generally, the motivation for this particular exception seems clear: President Donald Trump and his team are looking to avoid the fiery backlash that the previous administration [Editor's note: and whose administration was that?] faced when it shuttered parks and monuments in 2013.
It’s a move that puts natural and cultural resources at risk, critics warn.
Jon Jarvis, the former director of the National Park Service, dubbed it “incredibly idiotic.” The park service is not going to be able to live up to its stewardship responsibilities, he told HuffPost on Friday.
“The great thing about national parks is that when visitors come, they have a certain expectation of the experience,” Jarvis said. “That there will be rangers on duty. There will be information at the visitor center. … If they get lost, we’re going to find them. If they get injured, we’re going to rescue them.” [So you shut down the Washington open-air memorials because you feared that tourists would get lost, and require helicopter rescue? I've visited not only the Washington memorials, but Antietam, and Gettysburg, following some of my great-grandfather's battles, and, although I suppose I might have twisted an ankle in the Devil's Den (I didn't), I never felt that a rescue team should be on call. ]
What makes the U.S. park system the best in the world, he said, “is a professional corps of managers in the field that provide for that experience and protect the resource.”
The Trump administration has notified National Park Service officials across the country to maintain public access at parks “unless access presents a serious and imminent threat to human life, safety, or health, or a serious and imminent threat to the condition of a sensitive natural or cultural resource.”
During a 16-day shutdown in 2013 — in the first year of President Barack Obama’s second term, when Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate [editor - latest version corrected to admit that Democrats controlled the Senate] — national parks and monuments were closed across the country. Barricades were erected around the National Mall in Washington. Signs were put up that read “Because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN, All National Parks Are CLOSED.” Vacations were ruined. TV news aired footage of military veterans busting through blockades to access war memorials.
With the Republican-controlled Congress proving unable to fund the government by midnight Friday [because they needed the vote of at least 10 Democrats, and got none] visitors to U.S. parks, monuments and memorials are expected to face bare-bones operations — open access without those welcoming uniformed professionals. ["welcoming, uniformed professionals" — how can any modern American possibly survive a visit to the Lincoln Memorial without those? Oh, the humanity!]
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement Thursday that those public places would “remain as accessible as possible” in the event of a shutdown.
“The American public and especially our veterans who come to our nation’s capital should find war memorials and open-air parks open to the public,” she said. “Additionally, many of our national parks, refuges, and other public lands will still try to allow limited access wherever possible.”
But former Interior officials warned that the administration’s attempt to save face could backfire.
“With this new direction — where some things are open, some things are not, some things are going to be maintained, some things are not — and you’re asking them to figure this out on the fly in 24 hours,” Jarvis said. “That’s where it’s going to be a great deal of chaos.” [So in 2013, Jarvis just shut down the entire show, to save muddle-headed citizens the torment of uncertainty]
Sally Jewell, who served as secretary of the interior during the 2013 shutdown [see below] , told The Atlantic that clearly the administration is trying to “reduce the heat,” but it’s “naive” to think that a few police officers can protect these sites.
“It’s not realistic,” she said, “and I think it’s a lack of understanding of the roles that so many people play in the parks and, frankly, what [roles] volunteers play in the parks as well.” [Is there a reason volunteers can't continue volunteering? In 2013, yes: the parks were shut down. In 2018, no.]
And Kate Kelly, public lands director at the Center for American Progress and an Interior official during the Obama administration, [thank you President Trump and Secretary Zinke for cleaning house] accused Zinke of “using the national parks as pawns in some political game.” [Hahahahaha]
“The National Park Service’s mission shouldn’t be held together by duct tape and bailing wire in order to lessen the public’s blowback on the party that controls Congress and the White House,” she said in an email.
The oldest trick in the bureaucratic kit bag is to cancel highly visible services when they're threatened or, in the case of 2013, ordered to by Obama. On a local level, our police department, told to cut its budget some years back, eliminated all school crossing guards, paid at $6 an hour. It saved a mere mite of the dollars called for, but naturally, people noticed, and cried out. If memory serves, it also served its purpose, and the budget cuts were restored. Obama used the same tactic, Trump won't, and as usual, it's driving the left completely batshit crazy.
I'm not tired of winning yet; are you?