Saturday, October 12, 2013

Why Not Work For Free?

I was disappointed to learn Texas hasn't offered to reopen national parks like Guadalupe or Big Bend. These remote locations basically weed out any casual visitors so that only a responsible person would bother driving 4-10 hours across the desert to walk around in mesquite brush. The Texan approach is usually intentionally independent. The Alamo, for example, is open because it's staffed mostly by volunteer "Daughters of The Republic of Texas". It's not a National Park and it would be hard to close something down that is in the middle of San Antonio. Speaking of character, the women who welcome you to the Alamo would laugh in the face of a national park ranger if he said it was closed due to a government food fight. They are already working for free so it doesn't concern them.

This fiscal crisis finally shines the light on those who act and the pundits. I feel that the national parks are too important to close...and if I ever fulfill my dream of being an interpretive park ranger it's not going to be on the condition I get paid for my time. The reason I could work through a government shut down is because of the other days when they paid me. This is that rainy day your mom warned you about. If I had to clean the toilets and empty trash bags you think I'm not going to do that because I won't get paid for my work? If it means keeping the parks open then I see it as a responsibility, like teachers who pay out of pocket for school supplies for their students. If you want easy days of long lunches then go work for Monsanto who never take a day off from getting paid. Otherwise, you take the job that you would do for free. Too much top down management in this pseudo democracy.

I fear that our parks employ people who don't take their job seriously enough. The national park website network has suspended operating. Why? How hard is it to keep a website running? It took more work to close it down. Don't tell me it's a manpower issue. Like the public library in these small Texas towns that close 4 days a week "because of funding". HOW MUCH DOES IT TAKE TO CHECK BOOKS OUT? Don't tell me there aren't enough motivated people in town to stand behind the desk and point to the non-fiction section. It's an issue of efficacy and pro-social behavior, basically the opposite of what happens in Washington.

This shutdown shines the spotlight on the rangers; their job of educating the public about these special locations is so important that they will all take indefinite vacations if they don't get paychecks? Really? If a state failed to agree on a budget to keep schools open do you think the teachers wouldn't show up? Never mind that you have to pay an admission fee to enter a national park so Yosemite, the most visited park, is actually losing money by staying closed. They don't just break even at the end of the day, they profit so much that they support other parks. Did no one in Sacramento do the math? You don't need to spend $hit from the general fund to keep Yosemite open. Yosemite keeps Yosemite open. I wish those park rangers had defied the shutdown, kept the park open and acted like adults instead of obedient servants. Washington is 3500 miles from Yosemite! What is going to happen if you keep it open? Is that hippie Jerry Brown going to dispatch the national guard from San Diego to guard the gates of Kings Canyon? Come on! Keep the park open and divide the admission receipts between everyone who showed up to work that day. Simple! If a truck needs gas, then put gas in it. This isn't complicated stuff.
The park is closed so I had to draw Half Dome from memory.

If we continue to kneel before the royal throne and give thanks for crumbs thrown to our plates then we will continually fail to accept adult responsibilities. Half Dome in Yosemite is neither open nor closed. I don't need permission to climb it. John Muir would be sick to his stomach that this natural location has gates at all, but for Rangers to leave their posts is a group embracing of inadequacy. Obedience leads to obsolescence. It's a dangerous business obeying the whims of spoiled children with too much power.

It's really ironic because this whole fiasco is caused by a gigantic failure of people managing their own health care...something so primitive and fundamental that it's a sign of real social decay...the federal government determined that individuals can't be responsible for their own health insurance, that insurance companies were predatory and undermining the cause of doctors, that it was so important that the government, who invades numerous countries on false information, will now take responsibility for the health needs like we're all infants trapped in incubators waiting for our milk bottles. So, the problems are accumulating and people have less responsibility and the government has more responsibility and it's obvious neither can handle it. And the very next Republican president is going to eliminate the affordable care act so it's all pointless.

I expected Texas to be different but they folded like everyone else. You'll be happy to know oil and natural gas production has not been affected at all. Catastrophic climate change will go on as planned.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.