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President's Ponderings: Tear Down The Barricades

By Ed Luttrell, National Grange President, (President's Ponderings Blog - 10/4/13)

  OCTOBER 6, 2013 --

150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln ended the Gettysburg Address with, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Today, our government barricades our national monuments to prevent our citizens, including our aging veterans, from paying their respects to the heroes and heroines of our nation. Monuments that only saw temporary barriers following 9-11 now are blocked not due to threat, but because the administration wants to score political points.

The national mall is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; until now. The multitude of monuments commemorating great Americans, war heroes, and momentous events are open during the worst weather, during protests, and during previous government shutdowns. Yet our government is paying to barricade us from connecting with our heritage, paying our respects, and learning about our history because federal employees are furloughed.

Lincoln did understand that the government is one of the people, by the people, and for the people. The actions of our government this week are ones of government over the people. Regardless of which party you are rooting for, no matter whether you want more or less government spending, denying our citizens access to our, and I mean our, national monuments is unacceptable.

Mr. President, please tell the Park Service to tear down those barricades! They belong to the American people! Those we elect and those hired to manage, maintain, and protect these treasures, work for us. No one has the right to deny citizens access to our monuments.

Whoever decided that punishing the American people in order to gain political advantage should lose their job.

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