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As painful as possible

Published in Blog on July 17, 2017 by Convention Of States Project

“What is the purpose of government?”

Thousands of people have written thousands of books trying to answer this question. Having spent four years at a college filled with government majors, I can tell you the answer is much more complicated than it first appears.

Perhaps an easier question to answer is, “What isn’t the purpose of government?” What sorts of things shouldn’t the government do? Well, I can think of a few things. The government shouldn’t make an uncertain, confusing time even more painful. The government shouldn’t be more concerned about politics than its citizens. The government shouldn’t be unreasonable, childish, and tyrannical.

Unfortunately, that’s precisely what the federal government has done. As reported by WORLD Magazine, the current administration has gone out of its way to make the federal shutdown as painful as possible. Here are some of the more ridiculous examples:

You will be assimilated. The Cliff House, an oceanfront restaurant in San Francisco that employs 170 people, had to shut down for a second time this week. The Inside Scoop reports that the restaurant re-opened its doors in defiance of the shutdown requirements that all concession businesses on federal land must close. In a statement, the restaurant’s owners wrote, “As a successful, independent, privately owned business that does not depend on any tax dollars or federal funding, the Cliff House must have income. Having been shut down for four days the Cliff House has already assumed considerable financial loss.” After two days of continuing to serve seafood with a view, officials forced the restaurant to close again today and for the rest of the shutdown.

America’s Gestapo. Tourists from Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United States were in Yellowstone National Park when the lockdown came. An armed guard kept them locked for hours in a hotel while park employees treated them with contempt, the Newburyport News reports. Many of the tourists had limited English skills and thought they were under arrest. American tourist Pat Vaillancourt said, “We’ve become a country of fear, guns, and control. It was like they brought out the armed forces.” When the Park Service finally let them leave, their bus was not allowed to stop at any of the open bathrooms along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, including at a dude ranch that was warned its license would be revoked if it allowed them to use the facilities.

Selective shutdown? As if to prove that the Obama administration is making the shutdown as painful as possible, the government closed only certain monuments: those in more prominent locations. While the National Mall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the World War II Memorial are now behind barricades and guards, the Constitutional Gardens and the Japanese Americans Memorial remain open to the public. Doc Hastings, chairman of House Natural Resource Committee, said this selectivity is “proof that the Obama administration is only playing politics …”

What (or who) remains working? President Barack Obama’s top chef, although other White House staffers have been furloughed. The presidential golf course. And the Camp David retreat.

A Convention of States cannot eradicate all the bad leaders. But it can ensure those bad leaders have less power to make peoples’ lives miserable.

If you’d like to limit the federal government—if you’d like to keep power out of Washington—we need your help! We’re still looking for leadership and volunteers. If you’d like to help make a Convention of States a reality, click here to apply for a leadership position in your state.

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