Yesterday, many could say the nation went back to business. We are excited and relieved to have all of America's 401 national parks open again. And while things appear to be returning back to normal, the impact of the shutdown will be lasting.
When tea party lawmakers stand on National Park Service land and exploit a NPS monument as a backdrop in their strategy to undermine the U.S. economy, it tends to ring hollow knowing how the GOP has been at war against funding for the NPS.
This isn't a government shutdown. We should stop calling it that. It's a demonstration of our national priorities.
The partial government shutdown is having an impact on travel to the U.S., and that means our economy may feel the pinch in the months to come. Safety is only half of the concern. Just a few days of shutdowns will have a long-reaching economic impact for the travel industry.
Republicans are seeking to take credit for piecemeal restoration of particular federal services -- ranging from the parks to NIH research to food stamps -- they think will be particularly popular in their districts, protecting them from constituent backlash against the furloughs and service cut-backs.
In these bizarre times, it's best to keep an open mind, especially when the government suddenly throws a wrench in your national park vacation plans. For those seeking take a trip anytime in the foreseeable future, all is not lost.
This is President Obamas' lucky day. I happen to be between jobs right now. My last one was at Just Pants, at the mall in 1976. Therefore I have some free time and an unbelievable offer for him. I will run the National Park System for a nominal fee and the waiving of my IRS bill.
Attempting to "get away from it all" for a few hours over the weekend, I sought the beautiful sights of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore. Well, I may have been two hours away from Washington but I didn't get away from anything.
America's best idea is in trouble -- but I don't mean our national parks. Yes, the parks are closed, which is inexcusable. But what's really under attack is something even older than our national park system: our democracy.
Depending upon what you enjoy doing, you can combine travel and volunteering in virtually any part of the world. Here's one suggestion for people who like to drive, take beautiful walks, be dazzled by nature and world-class views, relish peace and quiet, and seriously love animals.
Acadia is uniquely qualified to deal with the shutdown. That's because the park takes up less than half of Mount Desert Island, which is an incredible destination on its own. The shutdown is actually a great excuse to take advantage of lots of amazing things you might otherwise miss.
This isn't a political opinion. This is a plea. Open our parks. We've been traveling across the U.S. visiting National Parks, State Parks, National Monuments. We're disappointed by the closures, but it isn't us that I'm most concerned about.
Don't let the government shutdown get you down. Just do what a real adventurer would do: adapt! There's countless waterfalls, beaches, forests and more just waiting to be discovered in the country's state and county parks.
Republicans have put America's health and environment in jeopardy with their shutdown tactics. The question is: will they learn from their error or do it all again in two weeks when the debt ceiling must be lifted?
Don't worry veterans, you might not get your educational and rehabilitation benefits, but it could be worse. Actually it will be worse if this goes on for more than a few weeks, but let's not go there. Tune in next week, what's next? Witch hunts?