Dear President Trump,
It looks like if I went to a National Park or Monument (or, starting today, any of the Smithsonian Museums) and wanted to send you a postcard to mark the occasion, I’d need to purchase the postcard somewhere other than those places since the visitor centers are closed along with nearly all other civilizing features of their infrastructures. Thus, if I were to take a picture to somehow send you, the once lovely places covered under those designations would look pretty damn trashy and would be filled with illegally parked cars and “all-terrain” vehicles in places they shouldn’t be.
Whose bright idea was it to leave the National Parks (etc.) open but untended except for a few local volunteers who are trying to stem the tide of human-made crap (of the literal and figurative sorts)? Was this a super devious way to further undermine the health and beauty of these places? Is the idea that after a couple (several??) weeks of no rules and no maintenance you all will feel more emboldened to argue in favor of the mega-bucks to be made from timber, oil, and mineral extraction since the cleanup efforts would be so massive and expensive? Ok, this is an incredibly cynical take, I’ll grant you that. But really, I want to know – what is the rationale for allowing these precious resources to be trashed like this?
If you were to take up ‘plogging’ you’d see right away that unchecked humans are a f*cking disaster when it comes to taking care of things. Wherever people can feel anonymous and transitory, as though wherever they are is not theirs, you will find copious amounts of litter. Parking lots, bus stops, busy arterials, roadways near schools and grocery stores – all of these places are absolute messes around here. The thought of either Olympic or Mount Rainier National Park looking like the strip of street next to the Safeway by our house is really horrifying. The fact that the strip of street by the Safeway looks like it does most of the time (I can only bring myself to deal with it every week or two) should be horrifying too, really.
So if your goal is to demoralize us, let us sink to our lowest common denominators so we just want to say ‘to hell with it’ then keep up this idiotic government shutdown over your damn border wall and leave our national treasures open with no safeguards so we can “Lord of the Flies” them to death. It will add nicely to your legacy.
May we be safe from ourselves.
May we be happy to step up and take care broadly.
May we get that our health is tied to the health of our gutters.
May we not make peace with trash; rather, may we do something constructive about it.