In 1941, a Northeastern newspaper editor characterized Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln as “lighthouses in a foggy world.” It’s more than symbolism. Should we be shocked when our “moral light” has been extinguished in most of our institutions, from schools of social sciences and education in universities, to secondary school teachers, and generations of vulnerable students? It spread like fire in a tinder box. But more pernicious. Without wading too deeply into the existential or philosophical weeds, it’s safe to say that our country is, and has been for decades, under siege by this plague, permeating every facet of our lives. From the classroom to the media to matrimony, from politics to the pulpit, and beyond.
My previous column gave examples of federal mismanagement fueling the sagebrush rebellion. Here is another egregious example.
In August 2015 the EPA’s attempt to clean up an old abandoned mine in Colorado resulted in a devastating spill of millions of gallons of toxic orange waste into the Animas River contaminating it for many miles and years.
Today I will examine objections to transferring public lands to Wyoming and the legalities of so doing. The proposed transfer will only apply to National Forests and BLM land, not to National Parks or Monuments. Objections, such as the following, should currently be leveled at federal land management agencies.
A few days ago I was driving from Jackson toward the Airport. I had to be very careful as I came up behind two people on bicycles. Oncoming traffic made it necessary for me to slow down and wait to pass. The highway shoulder was narrow in that spot.
After going around them, I observed the Jackson to Teton National Park bicycle pathway, which cost millions. It was vacant with seasonal closure signs. The weather was beautiful, perfect for an afternoon bicycle ride. Without snow, no elk were in sight. So why close the pathway? Allegedly it is because of elk migration and the possible conflict. Joggers and bicycle enthusiasts quit riding at this time, not because of the weather, but because the pathway is closed making it dangerous to cycle or jog on the shoulder of the highway. Bureaucrats decided on an arbitrary closure date, regardless of the presence of animals, putting a multimillion dollar pathway in mothballs for six months. Cowboy Common Sense would say leave that pathway open all year, with signs at regular intervals saying, “Wildlife has right-of-way. When wildlife present, move to highway.”
Have you ever wondered how someone can get on the no-fly list? Have you heard our government representatives claim only the bad guys, you know, those pesky terrorists, will get on the list. And all in the name of safety, that is, to protect “you”! Have you ever wondered if it’s not about you, rather about them (government people)? And just who classifies the bad guys? And what criteria do they use?
Well let’s go back in history a bit, say, 2009. You know, shortly after Obama came into “power”. Below is a document written by the Department of Homeland Security in 2009 that was circulated among law enforcement to help them “identify” the bad guys. After reading it, ask yourself why have we had so many terrorist attacks since Obama has been office, and why with the Billions of dollars being spent on law enforcement why they are focusing on American citizens instead radical Islam.
Political skeptics are rarely disappointed. Their bar’s not very high. We who gravitate to the political arena, when “politicking” ceases, most will lick our “wounds” and settle in to be good citizens. Many will conduct themselves within the clearly drawn legal and ethical boundaries-absent political mischief to gain unfair advantage. A cadre of politicians have already shifted their focus, while counting votes, to counting filthy lucre, that will ultimately “line their own pockets,” bolstering their careerist impulses simultaneously. Some of their shenanigans may be “legal,” but many would fail the “moral sniff” test, serving to hasten the slide to political corruption, under the guise of “serving their constituency.” Rather than accepting “it’s just politics,” we should consider less flattering terms such as cronyism or kleptocracy.