The Republican Party is lamenting the closure of our national parks due to a government shutdown, and has introduced a proposal to reopen them while other crucial services remain shuttered.
Spare me the Republicans' crocodile tears. What a bunch of disingenuous hokum!
This is the same political party that in the last few decades as a general policy fought steadfastly against expansion of the National Park System. That has occurred even as the nation's burgeoning population suggested the need for an increase in parkland.
It is the same party that has members in Congress who believe the federal government has no business owning land. To that end, some of the more aggressive lawmakers have proposed selling off some of the parks to the private sector or transferring them to the states.
The Republicans who are currently rhapsodizing about the glories of the great unspoiled outdoors have colleagues in their party who have sought (unsuccessfully) to open some of our crown wilderness jewels such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks to large deluxe resorts. Can Disneyland be far behind?
According to the federal Office of Management and Budget, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan's 2013 budget proposal, the seminal fiscal document of his party, contained cuts that would have forced the partial closing of hundreds of national parks in 2014.
Suddenly, Republicans are agonizing over the public's deprivation of a wilderness experience. The national parks that have been so low on the GOP totem pole have been selectively elevated above the needs of the sick, the poor, and the hungry who are being impacted by Washington's shutdown.
A majority of Americans will see through this blatant demagoguery. Only the most close-minded who hear no more than they want to hear will embrace this transparent ploy to embarrass President Obama and the Democratic Party.