If a protestor trespasses in a closed national park, but there’s nobody around to see her, does she make an impact?
Some rhetorical questions have no real answers, but this one does. The answer is no.
I’m sure I don’t have to remind everyone about how the government shutdown has affected southern Utah. Our tourism revenue has, and will continue to, drop as our biggest moneymakers — our national parks — have been closed. Our whiny, namby-pamby, good-for-nothing elected officials are effectively putting us out of business.
One group in southern Utah decided to organize a protest. The members decided to rally at Zion National Park, jump the fence in protest, and hike the grounds while simultaneously picking up trash.
The message: We will go into our public lands whenever we damn well please, and we won’t let idiotic bureaucrats dictate how we utilize nature.
What a great way to stand up against the machine that is our government. It’s peaceful, and it shows respect for the land but not for the governing entity that tells us “No!”
However, if you’re going to organize a protest of this nature, you should probably set it up on a date and time when people will be around to notice. After all, what good is a protest if nobody even knows about it?
Well, the organizers of this Zion walk-in/sit-in, also known as Occupy Zion, decided to stage their civil disobedience the same day as The St. George Marathon, otherwise known as the single largest and most attended annual event in St. George.
So while the Occupy Zion group was sticking it to the man (and rightly so), the rest of the region had its eyes glued to State Route 18 and the more than 7,000 marathoners racing into St. George.
What’s worse is I’m sure many of the racers would have loved to take part in the protest. I would have loved to have gone to Zion’s gate and raised my middle finger in the face of Congress. I mean, I do it anyway, so why not do it for a cause?
One common thread among runners is we all appreciate the outdoors. Most of us utilize local trails as we train for marathons. It hits us hard when public lands are taken away from us. If the protest had been held on another day, then who knows how many marathoners would have taken part in Occupy Zion?
But the Occupiers didn’t take that into account, apparently.
The protest idea itself is rated 10 out of 10 gold bars — paid for with Congress’ paychecks, of course. But the organizers are rated with four out of four Utah representatives who led the way in bringing Congress to a screeching halt.
Next time, they need to take into account other events and plan accordingly.
If Occupy Zion organizes another movement on a day when the press, the public and the government can take better notice, then I will be right there shouting my disdain for Reps. Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, Jim Matheson and Chris Stewart (the four Utah representatives who seem to hate Utah). Until that day, I’ll just be shaking my head in sadness that such a good idea was squandered on the one day nobody would be paying attention.
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