Late this summer we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Wilderness Act. This landmark legislation was supported by a large majority of both parties. Something that wouldn’t be conceivable today with the right wing, reactionary, corporatists that make up what is still called the Republican Party. The backbone of our current environmental law, that was designed to protect the health and wellbeing of our citizens, was passed when a Republican, Richard Nixon was President. It was time to stop our rivers from burning and toxic dumps like Love Canal. Now, the so called conservatives on both federal and state levels introduce weekly legislation that would turn the clock back to the dirtier old days. The fight any attempt to further protect the health of our children and grandchildren.
Most American treasure their national parks and monuments. Some of the best remembered moments in many of our lives are our visits and experiences in national parks. Nearly half our national parks were first national monuments. Teddy Roosevelt first protected the Grand Canyon from commercial development by making it a national monument. Can you imagine the Grand Canyon not being a national park? Maybe it would have become a unique resort only for the rich.
The Antiquities Act is a law that has been on the books for a little over a hundred years. It has been used by Presidents of both parties since that time to protect special areas. Now the Republican reactionary House has passed a bill that would, if it became law, so tie the President’s hands that the Antiquities Act would become meaningless. If you think Representatives Marino and Barletta supported this legislation, you would be correct. They rubber stamp any and all of the radical right’s legislation.
Our parks are one of our great treasures that are open to all Americans. They are not exclusive resorts for the wealthy. There are a number of “conservatives” who don’t like parks, and would gladly sell off our parks and other public lands to private interests. When you walk into the voting booth you should think about what these people represent. Please don’t listen to what they say. Look at the legislation for which they vote. They don’t have the best interest of the people in mind. They care about the wealthy and the corporations who pay their bills.