RON HART: The Washington Monument syndrome

Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 16:04 PM.

OAKMONT , PENN. — We are more than a week into the government shutdown; shouldn’t we be looting Target for a flat screen TV by now? Why haven’t you joined a marauding street gang?

Two things have become apparent: how little we need most of government, and how spiteful public servants can be when they do not get their funding.

A turning point in this game of government shutdown brinksmanship happened last week when “our” petulant government went to great lengths to shut down open air memorials in order to intimidate us from ever cutting off funding.

During the sequester, the government shut down White House tours. Now it closes open air monuments and parks. Tourism is the second largest reason people go to D.C. Number one is to beg for a government handout.

This is a vengeful regime. It has no problem bullying and extorting from the people it was elected to serve.

The privately-funded World War II Veterans Memorial was blocked with barricades; it took more effort to barricade it than to staff it. When a busload of “Greatest Generation” veterans from Mississippi and Iowa showed up, the barricades didn't stop them. They did the right thing — again. The World War II vets, self-reliant and with little tolerance for petty politics, came in anyway. They made the administration in D.C. look like exactly what it is: a bunch of heavy-handed, union-like goons.

This government tactic is called the "Washington Monument Syndrome," and is a well-worn ploy. It got its name in 1969 when the then-director of the National Park Service contrived a plot to pressure Congress into not cutting its funding by being defiant.



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