A follow-up to yesterday’s post about the surreal lengths to which the Park Service is willing to go to punish the people they ostensibly serve. Most of what Pat Vaillancourt says here will be familiar to you but the bit about Old Faithful is new to me. Evidently it wasn’t enough to effectively lock elderly tourists inside their hotel. To make doubly sure that no one snuck up to the geyser for a pic while it was erupting, they drove down to the site 10-15 minutes beforehand and stood guard. That’s how petty this was. Presumably even the tourists taking photos from the windows of the hotel ended up with their Old Faithful memento effectively being photobombed by the NPS. Take that, America.
Jonathan Last calls this the biggest scandal of Obama’s presidency, just because of what it says about the nature of the government’s relationship to the citizenry it allegedly answers to:
It’s one thing for politicians to play shutdown theater. It’s another thing entirely for a civil bureaucracy entrusted with the privilege of caring for our national heritage to wage war against the citizenry on behalf of a political party.
This is how deep the politicization of Barack Obama’s administration goes. The Park Service falls under the Department of the Interior, and its director is a political appointee. Historically, the directorship has been nonpartisan and the service has functioned as a civil, not a political, unit. Before the current director, Jonathan Jarvis, was nominated by President Obama, he’d spent 30 years as a civil servant. But he has taken to his political duties with all the fervor of a third-tier hack from the DNC, marrying the disinterested contempt of a meter maid with the zeal of an ambitious party apparatchik.
“We’re witnessing the end of the civil service,” says David French at NRO. On that note, take your pick: You can watch four minutes of Vaillancourt recounting her experience below or, via Mark Steyn, listen to an eight-minute extended interview she gave to Michael Graham yesterday by clicking here. (“After the shutdown, the only rangers we saw were the armed ones.”) The most distressing part of her story, ironically, isn’t how American citizens were treated, it’s how the non-citizens in the group, some of whom didn’t speak English, perceived what was happening to them. Money quote: “It really was concerning. You could feel the element of fear.” They need a lawyer. I hope they get one.