On his radio show yesterday, our pal Michael Graham spoke to one of the tourists held under house arrest (or hotel arrest) by the National Park Service geyser stasi at Yellowstone Park. Here’s part of the interview:
There was a large group of Asians there. Not many spoke English . . . They said, ‘Are we under arrest?’ I mean, they were fearful. I mean, it looked like we were inside a prison. There were two large guards doing a walk up and down in front of the doors, so people felt like they were in prison. And the Australians said that would never happen in their country. Never never never.
These Australians, Europeans, and Asians paid huge amounts of money to fly thousands of miles to see America’s natural wonders. What do you think they’ll be telling their friends back home about “the land of the free”?
Make sure you listen to the entire audio. The choicest detail is when the lady explains that, during the hours they were stuck in the hotel and prevented by armed guards from walking next door to see Old Faithful, every hour-and-a-half throughout the day, just before the geyser was due to blow, your supposedly “closed” government dispatched a fleet of NPS SUVs to ring the site just in case any of those Japanese or Canadian tourists had managed to break out and was minded to take a non-commissar-approved look at it.
David French is right. This is bigger than the boring process stuff — will Boehner get a deal? (yawn) – that so obsesses the cable yakfests. This pseudo-”shutdown” is about the convergence of the party and the state. For the moment, it’s mostly petty despotism. But despotism rarely stays petty for long.
I’ll be speaking on this and other stuff at that bastion of liberty, the Ashbrook Center in Ohio, tomorrow evening. (Details here.) If you’re in the neighborhood, we promise to give you the full National Park Service experience by locking you in the theatre overnight and closing all the toilets.