I don’t know how many of you have visited Wyoming’s Teton National Park, which extends from its southern boundary near Jackson to the entrance to Yellowstone. To many it’s a place to ride through on the way to the geysers. It looks like this:
and even this:
Teton is one of those parks protected by something called the Antiquities Act of 1906. It also protects Zion, Acadia, and the Grand Canyon, among others.
The 2016 Republican Party platform called for amending the act to give Congress and states the right to block the president from declaring national monuments. Now it’s unlikely that Trump would know the difference between a monument and a monorail, but if he did, and if some coal magnate in Wyoming suddenly wanted to set up shop next to Mount Moran or Jackson Lake, the president could say no…or in Trump’s case, nyet. But if the law is rescinded or amended, political leaders in Wyoming, a very red state, could take this land and do whatever they wanted with it. Washington would have no oversight.
We spend a lot of time lamenting the financial impact of Trumpism, fretting over healthcare and Medicaid, assailing the know-nothings he has gathered around him, and defending immigrants against the Trump team’s baseless and ignorant attacks. These are all noble causes and we ignore them (and countless others) at our own peril. But there’s a beauty to our country that can’t be measured in cubic feet of natural gas, and there’s an aesthetic need in each of us that shouldn’t be bartered away for cheaper fuel or higher profits.