Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything more is from the evil one.
Matthew 5:37, New American Bible
I was recently reminded of something I heard a couple weeks ago from one of Fiancee S.'s cousins. This cousin works for an agency that works closely with the U.S. Parks Service. As such, he has a lot of contact with employees of the Parks Service.
It seems that the Bush Administration has slashed the operational budgets of a lot of the "second tier" parks in the National Parks System. That is to say that you will always be able to find a large, well operated Visitor Center at Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, but not so at some of the smaller, lesser-known parks. While I do not necessarily agree with this, it is something that the current Administration has the power to do.
Where the policy of the current Administration really begins to cause my bile to rise is that a policy directive on the subject from the Department of the Interior tells U.S. Parks Service employees to deflect or redirect questions on the matter.
Failure to do so will result in penalties that include suspension and job termination. The impression created within the Parks Service is that the Administration wants Park Rangers to lie when a visitor to a smaller park asks why the Visitor's Center is closed.
I was reminded of this policy this morning when I read the following quote from Paul Krugman's Op-Ed piece "Red Ink Realities" in this morning's New York Times:
In fact, many government agencies are severely underfinanced. For example, last month the head of the National Park Service's police admitted to reporters that her force faced serious budget and staff shortages, and was promptly suspended.
This brings me back to the quote at the start of this entry. If Republicans are going to be so full of "family values" and Fundamentalist Christian principles, let's start by putting the ideas of Jesus into action. Jesus did not tell us to tell the truth except when it may remind voters of uncomfortable political realities. If the policy of this government is to cut back spending to certain ideologically unfriendly agencies, let us not try to cover it up by asking employees of that agency to lie.
If one chooses to make budget cuts that require staff and service cutbacks, it is the politically prudent and honest Christian thing to simply say so.
on 2004-01-27 at 11:56 a.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond