Lincoln Memorial Government Shutdown

Having lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for years now, I thought I was dreaming on Oct. 1 when reports came in that World War II veterans were being told they would not be allowed to visit the national monument built in their honor. The idea is disgusting in general, but for those who have ever been to the nation’s capital it makes no sense: the monuments are natural parts of the cityscape, open-air tributes to our nation’s heroes that visitors have always been able to view — at any time of day. The government would have to go to bizarre lengths in order to prevent people from having access to most of the city’s monuments.

Sen Rand Paul of Kentucky worded it perfectly during an interview on Fox:

Sen. Rand Paul blasted the federal government for trying to block World War II vets from visiting their memorial, saying “some idiot in government sent goons out there to set up barricades.”

“If Harry Reid and the president want to keep the parks closed — I mean did you read the story today? Some idiot in government sent goons out there to set up barricades so they couldn’t see the monument. People had to spend hours setting up barricades where there are never barricades to prevent people from seeing the World War II monument because they’re trying to play a charade.”

What kind of sick and twisted individuals would go out of their way to cause stress and heartache on World War II veterans with only a few years left to live? Answer: The kind of people who would order the closing of a national park that doesn’t even receive federal funding:

The National Park Service has ordered the closure of a Virginia park that sits on federal land, even though the government provides no resources for its maintenance or operation.

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm announced on Wednesday that NPS has ordered it to suspend operations until Congress agrees to a deal to fund the federal government.

According to Anna Eberly, managing director of the farm, NPS sent law enforcement agents to the park on Tuesday evening to remove staff and volunteers from the property.

“You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money,” she said.

The Obama administration might not be happy with House Republicans, but it is showing its displeasure with them by needlessly and vindictively finding ways to inflict pain on the American people. The same thing was done during sequestion — but it got caught:

When Charles Brown of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service asked “if there was any latitude” in how officials might allocate sequester cuts to reduce negatively impacting fish inspections, Brown received the following reply:

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

The White House predicted pain, and so they will deliver pain — even when they don’t have to. These days, World War II veterans are their targets.

Personally, I think that the “defund Obamacare” strategy is ill-conceived for a number of reasons, but the way the Obama administration is handling the government shutdown demonstrates quite clearly that neither side is playing with a full deck. The Republicans may be acting like immature children who are upset that Obamacare passed through Congress and was ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court, but the Democrats are power mad fiends who will do anything to get their way, even if that includes inflicting unnecessary pain on the American people.

Here's me with a buddy over the summer at the Lincoln Memorial. Given the layout of the land, there is no reason why the monument should be barricaded off during a government shutdown.
Here’s me with a buddy over the summer at the Lincoln Memorial. Given the layout of the land, there is no reason why the monument should be barricaded off during a government shutdown.

America is being governed largely by psychopaths — and Americans voted them into office. There is still time for us to collectively wake up and right the ship, but not much.

WWII Memorial barricade
The effort it would take to build barriers around the national monuments in D.C. is something that only mentally ill men and women who are drunk on power would do. And it happened.

Where are we at as a nation when elected officials are so hungry for power that they would use our last remaining World War II veterans as pawns in a Congressional chess match? It takes a seriously disturbed and demented mind to order government workers to place barricades in front of the National World War II Memorial.

"WWII veteran Ted Bellon, 87, broke down in tears when asked if he was upset he had to see the WWII Memorial from behind a fence," (Fox News).
“WWII veteran Ted Bellon, 87, broke down in tears when asked if he was upset he had to see the WWII Memorial from behind a fence,” (Fox News).

Related: D.C. goons target Mount Vernon during shutdown — even though it’s privately owned

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

37 comments

  1. Douglas,

    I have been watching this on our news here in Australia with some interest. I can’t say that I fully understand what the government shutdown is all about, especially concerning US politics, but nonetheless it has grabbed my attention.

    I agree that there is absolutely no reason to shut down national monuments, war memorials and national parks. It doesn’t make sense as to why they would do that.

    How long do you think the government shutdown will last? My family and I are visiting friends in the US throughout JAN 2014 into early FEB 2014. Would love to visit Washington DC, but there is only so much we can squeeze on our itinerary given what we can afford this time around.

    Cheers,
    Tony D’Antonio
    aka
    Magnetic Eye

    1. I could understand certain buildings being closed. For instance, you have to go inside the National Archives to view the Constitution. Okay, I get it. The government is shutdown, so we’re closed for business. Makes sense. But the World War II Memorial is outside. It’s part of the city. I have gone there late at night to look at the Washington Monument or the White House. I sometimes think I enjoy them more at night… They had to go out of their way to do these things, and that is what is upsetting.

      I’m not sure how long it will last. I actually think that the longer that it goes on, the worse President Obama will look. He might say he shouldn’t have to compromise with the Republicans demands (and on some level I sympathize with him when it comes to Obamacare, even though I’d like it repealed), but the truth is that sane people negotiate when they have huge differences of opinion. I think the last shutdown went on for three weeks. Don’t quote me on that, but it’s probably something along those lines.

      I’m not sure where you’ll be in the U.S., but if you end up coming to D.C. let me know and I can send you a few places you have to check out, as well as some good restaurants.

    2. Thanks for the quick reply. Wasn’t the last shutdown during President Clinton’s administration? Another uninformed question, but is the idea of a government shutdown meant to alleviate the national debt, because that seems to be the gist of what I’m understanding from news reports here.

      We’re basically going to Los Angeles, then Fresno for a week to catch up with friends. Yosemite National Park is on our agenda as well. A brief stopover in Denver and then to Atlanta, Athens and Lexington for another week to catch up with friends there. We then go to New York City for a week, Niagra Falls, Toronto 3 days, San Diego 2 days and then back to Los Angeles for another 2 days before flying home.

      Thanks for the offer. It’s good to know places to check out outside of the normal tourist spots and good food is always a must. Our itinerary is fairly tight but you never know. 🙂

    3. Without getting too wonkish, the U.S. is broke. It is the brokest nation in the history of the world. It’s embarrassing, and anyone with a shred of respect should be ashamed of it. $17 trillion and rising. Well, it’s actually not rising at the moment because they’ve played accounting tricks that would get you and me thrown in jail… but you get the point.

      So the question becomes: Do you get a hold of your spending addiction now before you become Greece and Spain, or do you keep borrowing and tell everyone not to worry because you know you can always retire or blame someone else when it all falls apart? Because the GOP leadership is generally clueless, they don’t really know how to articulate this in a way that resonates with the American people. In the end it doesn’t matter because you can’t outrun basic math. When that happens it’s going to be painful.

      If you tell a kid not to do something 100 times in a row, and you even physically restrain them on occasion — and yet they still perform the action in question when given a chance and hurt themselves — do you feel bad? When the U.S. pays the piper I’m going to just shake my head and laugh.

      Anyway, it sounds like you have an amazing trip lined up, but truthfully you might need a vacation from your vacation. That sounds incredibly exhausting! I hope it all goes well and the weather cooperates with you.

    4. Thank you Nate. That link was very much appreciated. Very informative indeed. I guess some of the Americanisms can be a little confusing, but I will read the article again. 🙂

    5. Thanks for sharing, Nate. It somewhat underscores the point I made above, which is that the longer it goes on it will hurt President Obama pretty badly. No matter how ridiculous he thinks the demands are, at some point both sides need to talk and work something out. Compromise isn’t “you do what I want and then we say we compromised.”

      Again, thanks for the link.

  2. “….America is being governed largely by psychopaths —” You are correct, sir. There’s only one way to control dangerous psychopaths, and that’s by confining them indefinitely in an escape proof loonie bin wrapped in heavy chains and stoked to the eyeballs on thorazine.

    I don’t see that happening, do you?

    1. Good stuff. I think even the administration knows that they’re sitting on a powder keg with the WWII Memorial that would blog them to Kingdom Come if they pushed it — hence, why the park police just stood their when the vets walked through the barriers. Setting up the barriers to begin with is repugnant … but they still have a thread of sanity left running through their brains that tells them they’re on the verge of political suicide.

    2. I don’t see that happening. 😉 However, it’s stuff like this that will get them thrown out of office. Levin is right: If they go down this route, they risk hundreds of thousands of people descending on Washington. Their psychopathic behavior may be the spark that sets off a wildfire.

    3. If Levin calls a rally , I will be there alongside my father (Vietnam 1969, 1970) and several other veteran members of our family.

    4. I was telling my brother that I went off on some high school or college kids a few years ago who were acting like complete jerks around the Vietnam Memorial, but that if one of these goons messes in the wrong way with a veteran who is trying to see a memorial … I might go into a blind rage. There are few things that get me riled up enough to go out into the streets in protest … but this is one of them.

  3. I wish I could say I’m shocked, but I’m not. Obama is a spoiled brat who who throws a tantrum every time he hears the word “no.”

    1. Not as good of a zinger as Hube’s, but so true:

      “To liberals and many moderates, it often seems like the right gets what it wants in these arguments and then just gets more extreme, demanding cuts atop cuts, concessions atop concessions, deregulation upon deregulation, tax cuts upon tax cuts. But to many conservatives, the right has never come remotely close to getting what it actually wants, whether in the Reagan era or the Gingrich years or now the age of the Tea Party — because what it wants is an actually smaller government, as opposed to one that just grows somewhat more slowly than liberals and the left would like. And this goal only ends up getting labeled as ‘extreme’ in our debates, conservatives lament, because the right has never succeeded in dislodging certain basic assumptions about government established by F.D.R. and L.B.J. — under which a slower rate of spending growth is a ‘draconian cut,’ an era of ‘small government’ is one which in which the state grows immensely in absolute terms but holds steady as a share of G.D.P., and a rich society can never get rich enough to need less welfare spending per capita than it did when it was considerably poorer.”

    2. That’s also a great quote. I want a smaller government, too. There are so many things (infastructure, education, etc) that should be funded on a state/local level, NOT a federal government level.

  4. I don’t see much criticism of the Republican role in all this, which is odd considering its the GOP that’s imploding. and Obama capitulates all the time, like he did with ACA. the tantrum antics are Cruz & Co antics, and sensible Republicans are horrified because this doesn’t wash with moderate voters and independents. there’s not enough gerrymandering that can stop the demographic tides from turning.

    it’s too bad Democrats are also corporate fascists, offering no real contrast to the continued hollowing out of America. we are in big time trouble, and anyone looking to a totally corrupted political process to address it is delusional.

    1. You’re right. I haven’t addressed this issue. Oh, wait, I did: Conservatives attack allies on defunding Obamacare, wonder why minorities shun GOP

      To fund or defund Obamacare? That is the question. If you’ve listened to conservative talk radio lately, you know that there is an interesting divide among Republicans. One faction wants to withhold the funding necessary for President Obama’s key piece of legislation, while the other wants no part of such a plan. Certain hosts have essentially said that having a disagreement over strategy is now tantamount to a betrayal of conservative principles. Men and women who are generally friendly to conservative causes have been called “French conservatives” and fake conservatives, and the question becomes: “Why?” What good does it do to attack someone’s character because that person disagrees over a strategy designed to bring about the same end? The kind of tone-deaf rhetoric on display by some very smart men on the right side of the political fence is exactly why over 90% of the black vote consistently goes to Democrats.

      The American people generally know that Obamacare is on course to become, in many ways, a “train wreck” (to borrow a phrase from Democratic Senator from Montana, Max Baucus). However, they also know that the bill was passed by the House and the Senate and signed into law by the president. They know that it was ruled on by the Supreme Court and found to be Constitutional. At this point, not funding Obamacare will in all likelihood be perceived by most voters as an underhanded way for Republicans to get what they couldn’t get through the Democratic process or the courts. That might not be fair, but the world isn’t always fair — and it’s really not fair if your political leaders are a bunch of bumblers who care more about holding on to power than the well-being of the American people. …

      Right now, there are many conservatives who are having their credentials challenged simply because they don’t want to win the battle but lose the war. If conservatives treat their “friends” like this, why should voters who are skittish about them think of ever changing their political allegiance? The answer is simple: they shouldn’t.

      I noticed you didn’t comment on that post. Interesting.

    2. I’m politically neutral that is I dislike all parties Imperial, Monarchic, Aristocratic, Republican, Democrat, Socialist and Communist because man does not have the right to rule himself though they are all preferable to Anarchy. That being said liberals are always playing the blame game. Oh the “right” are a bunch of racist which party freed the slaves? Oh they’re a bunch of fascist. Every politician, every party and every state is to a degree because the terms real meaning is as to the extent that man dominates man to their injury. Oh there responsible for the shutdown either side could have ended this. How big was the debt exactly before Obama became president? Why hasn’t he been impeached? people have to realize that he’s a globalist who has himself admitted that he desires to weaken this country in regards to the rest of the world.

    3. Obama said he wanted to “fundamentally transform” America, but no one ever asked him what he meant by that. Do you ever want to “fundamentally transform” something you love? Those are the sorts of rhetorical red flags that shoot up around him all the time (especially when he speaks extemporaneously), but yet the media just yawns and his followers just sort of repeatedly blink. He really is the Marshall Applewhite of modern American politics.

      You would think that the media that went nuts over George Bush and the Patriot Act would pay a little attention to Obama’s “Terror Tuesday Kill List” — otherwise known as “The Disposition Matrix.” (How much creepier of a name can you get?) Apparently, these days it’s no big deal.

    1. I’m not sure if you missed it, but this post wasn’t about which party was specifically to blame for the government shutdown — it was about the tactics that are being used now that it happened. It’s about the kind of individuals who would find creative ways to inflict pain on Americans. Understanding that we have such individuals at the highest level of government is incredibly valuable when someone asks the question: “How did we get here? How did we get to this point?”

    2. I notice the avatar from the above lizard poster is a handgun being fired at a group of people. Isn’t that the height of political incorrectness, and in fact a crime in most public schools? I must protest and DEMAND that the poster immediately remove aforementioned avatar and turn him/herself over to the proper authorities for prosecution and incarceration. Oh, and this smiley 🙂 certifies that this is a sarcastic, ironic, and humorous post.

    3. I’ve found the avatar interesting for quite some time, but I’ve refrained from commenting on it. I’ve been waiting for … the right time. Regardless, I’m glad you noticed it. The choice of avatar is also a statement. Relevant information about the inside of someone’s head can be gleaned from them.

      The thing with Lizard19 is that there really isn’t a need to get into avatar discussions when he openly states that he thinks the country is “pathetic.” Perhaps he should travel to other parts of the world a bit more to give him a different perspective.

    4. you want to talk about inflicting pain? how about you appreciate where Republicans are winning the war against insuring Americans, like in the 26 states that have denied medicaid expansion. the state I live in is one of them, and I work with social workers in the hospital, and I know intimately the pain being inflicted on poor Americans because they can’t afford health insurance.

      this country, and its whole spectrum of political bottom feeders sucking down corporate cash, is pathetic.

    5. [T]his country, and its whole spectrum of political bottom feeders sucking down corporate cash, is pathetic,” (Lizard19).

      That pretty much sums it up everything readers need to know about you right there. Guys like you think the country is “pathetic.” What’s it like living in a psychological and spiritual hell of your own making?

    6. Lizard 19 I wasn’t talking about simple finger pointing every politician on earth is guilty of that. I was talking about liberal’s long record of rewriting past history so their opponents get the blame for their own sins. Hitler found a lot of inspiration from 1920’s American Progressivism it’s racist agendas redistribution of wealth and eugenics now everyone whose rich or doesn’t call for “social justice” nowadays is somehow an almost Nazi (National SOCIALIST) and that’s just one small example. The two parties used to be as simple power struggle between states and the federal government. The Democrats lost there identity decades ago and are now a pack of watered down Communist.

  5. oh please, Douglas, the hell I see is not one of my own making, it’s the crony capitalist system that both parties serve. people who don’t live in DC and play partisan blame games actually see this.

    1. “[K]eep telling yourself that you’re not a part of the problem with your chosen vocation,” (Lizard19).

      Oh, hey, you’re going into the Dan Slott “Doug is a ‘bad’ person” realm. *clap*clap*clap*

      If only I was a social worker who thinks his own country is “pathetic,” I’d be a part of the “solution.”

      Have a nice day, Lizard19.

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