Over the past weekend my wife and I spent 12 wonderful hours watching and listening to the Ken Burns’s documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The photos, voices, and messages were exhilarating and inspirational.
I wondered how the current political parties treat our National Parks and went to the two parties’ platforms to find out.
The Republican Platform section on Environmental Progress (pp. 20-22) calls for Congress to “immediately pass universal legislation …. requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled government public lands to the states.” … “We support amending the Antiquities Act of 1906” (an executive order by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt to set aside historical sites, effectively used by others). The Republican platform “proposes to shift responsibility for environmental regulations from the Federal … to the States … transforming the EPA into a non-regulatory commission.”
The 2016 Democratic Democratic Party Platform section on Protection of Our Public Lands and Waters (pp. 29-30) states, “Democrats believe in the conservation … of our shared heritage: the public lands and waterways, the oceans … and all that makes America’s great outdoors priceless.”
The National Parks deserve to be respected as a legacy for generations to follow. Commercial activities that diminish the natural beauty and life cycles within the Parks would be an injustice to the tranquility and spiritual qualities that overcome so many of us as we experience these wild and open spaces.