Government Shutdown Day 3: The outcome of last night’s meeting at the White House was predictably poor. It appears that the president called in legislative leaders to tell them for the third time in 2 weeks that he refuses to negotiate or compromise on anything. This is akin to a husband or wife in the middle of a fight in which they aren’t speaking to each other, calling their spouse into the living room to exclaim to them, “I am not and will not be speaking with you.” And, then promptly dismissing them. It is counterproductive.
Back in March, when the “Sequester” first went into effect, you may remember that the president intentionally tried to create as much disruption about sequestration as possible in order to generate public pressure against it. One of his more extreme actions was to furlough meat inspectors so that no meat could legally be sold in the country, while, at the same time, not laying-off a single economist within the Department of Agriculture (note: this department has more economists than any organization on planet earth.) The public saw through this blatant abuse of power, and he was forced to put the meat inspectors back on the job and lay off some economists.
President Obama is doing it again. First of all, you should know that there are 4.3 million people in America who take home a full-time paycheck from the federal government. That number includes active-duty military and other Department of Defense personnel. The total number of federal employees furloughed right now is just about 800,000. That means that 81% of all federal employees are still working full-time and about 19% have been wholly or partially furloughed. There are companies out there who have made permanent lay-offs in larger percentages than that because of ObamaCare, increased taxes, onerous EPA regulations and other government actions. Where is the compassion in the media and this administration for those people?
So, in an effort to make things seem worse than they are, the administration is taking huge pains to close federal parks all over the country – even when those parks are open areas with no guides, restrooms or facilities of any kind. Here in the Washington, DC area, there are an abundance of such sites. The administration is actually spending more money to close these parks than it costs to keep them open. Since they are purposefully open sites, people can easily gain access. When these parks are open, they are unmanned. So, they have rented untold numbers of barricades to keep people out of open parks and even to keep you away from the banks of a river. Some furloughed workers were even called back to work yesterday to patrol such parks and block all access because some brave citizens were still going in.
The most visible example of this vain and blatant attempt to punish the American people for not slavishly devoting themselves to Barack’s every wish occurred at the World War II Memorial on the Capitol Mall. This memorial is fairly new, having been opened in 2004. It is an open-air memorial located right off the street with no visitor’s center, restrooms or services of any kind. Like other war memorials in this town, it is a park-like setting where one can quietly ponder, reminisce and pray for those who sacrificed all for our freedoms. In order to close it down on Tuesday, the administration had to erect rented barricades to keep people out.
Since the memorial is so new, many World War II veterans have never been there. Those veterans are well along in age now and, unfortunately, will no longer be with us in not too long. So, the “Honor Flight Network” was created in order to bring World War II veterans to Washington to see the memorial erected by a grateful nation in their honor. These flights happen all year long and this week was no different.
On Tuesday, several Republican members of Congress accompanied the WWII veterans from the honor flights to the memorial and physically removed the barriers so they could go in. The Obama administration had already clearly decided that this was unacceptable. So, on Wednesday morning they installed more barriers to block off all parking around the memorial, including street parking, and had more police there to give tickets to anyone who dared to stop. They also put up reams of that yellow “police line – do not cross” tape. But, as one Republican member of Congress stated, “These men did not stand down in the face of Japanese bayonets. They did not stand down in the face of German machine guns. And, they were not about to stand down in the face of the US Park Police.” A group of nearly 300 of veterans from Kansas and Missouri went to the memorial yesterday in violation of the orders of an arrogant administration. About 100 of them were in wheelchairs. They were accompanied by members of Congress from those states. When they arrived and were dropped off (no one could park), the congressional delegation and some of the more ambulatory veterans approached the National Park Police assigned to keep people out. The guards explained that they were allowed coffee breaks and it was time for one. All the guards quietly left. The members of Congress removed the barricades and those 300 heroes visited the memorial that will survive them and forever honor their service, sacrifice and victories. After they left, the guards ended their coffee break.
I know that many of you reading this support the president. I know that many of you think that the Republicans should take another posture in this debate. But regardless of your viewpoint, you have to agree that this kind of behavior by any president’s administration is beneath the dignity of the office, is not in keeping with our American principles of honor and liberty and is counter-productive to any form of agreement.
More tomorrow. Drive fast and live free.