Open Air Memorials Closed to Score Political Points?
By now most have heard about the barricades which were placed in front of the open air WWII Memorial yesterday by park service employees. When an honor guard flight of WWII vets arrived, they pushed through and visited the memorial despite the police tape.
But the WWII Memorial isn't the only federal landmark being barricaded under order from the White House. The Lincoln Memorial is normally open to visitors 24 hours a day. The NPS website (currently down) reads:
The public may visit the Lincoln Memorial 24 hours a day. However
Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M.
daily and to provide interpretive programs every hour on the hour from
10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
But yesterday the Lincoln Memorial was fenced off and barricaded. This image courtesy of the National Parks Conservations Association:
Similarly, the MLK Memorial is normally open 24 hours a day to visitors. Again, the National Park Service website is down but here's the stored page which reads:
The public may visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial 24 hours a
day. Rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30
p.m. daily and to provide interpretive programs every hour on the hour
from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
But just like the WWII Memorial, the MLK Jr. Memorial was barricaded yesterday:
Here's another shot courtesy of the National Parks Conservations Association:
The decisions to close off the nation's monuments was made by the Office of Management and Budget. All of these monument are normally available 24/7, i.e. whether or not park service employees are there to watch them or not. So why barricade them now?
Recall that during the lead up to the sequester the Obama administration warned of horror stories if the cuts went through. Once they did, one park service employee came forward to say that the administration appeared to be trying to make the cuts as painful and as visible as possible.
Another email made public at the time included a warning to an employee at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to insure that he was not "contradicting what we said the impact would be."
The Obama administration seems to be following the same playbook with the shutdown. The President and Sen. Reid believe the GOP will take the blame for the shutdown, therefore it makes sense to make the inconvenience as great as possible.
Thanks to some WWII vets who refused to play along, today people are wondering how much of this is really necessary.