Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Revised-Rep. Trey Gowdy Hammers Park Service Director on Memorial Closures

Revision 10/17/13: I completely forgot to mention my key thought about this subject. By pressing Director Jarvis for an answer about what regulation regulation  required him to order barricades to be set up to block entrance to memorials, Rep. Gowdy is challenging us to think for ourselves. When we are given unusual  instructions (such as shutting down memorials and parks), we must first consider whether or not what is being asked of us is indeed legal or if their is any regulation that provides for that action. If the answer is that no such rule or regulation exists, then an individual has the responsibility to tell  his supervisor that he will not comply with that order and that he will not pass it on to his subordinates. Let the person who initially gave to order attempt to discipline me for refusing to follow a wrongful order. This is a crucial part of the American mindset that has tragically been largely lost; too many of us are more concerned with the next promotion to stand up for what is right.

As I noted in previous posts, one quite necessary (but unfortunately almost never used  by Americans anymore) action upon receipt of an order is the simple notification to one's supervisor that a wrongful or clearly inappropriate direction will not be followed.
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South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy has proven himself time and again as true son of the Palmetto State. He has been at the forefront of the investigation of the Benghazi scandal* and took his same determined, no-mercy approach to a Congressional hearing on the spiteful Obama-ordered US national park and memorial closures that resulted in barricades ringing monuments in the Washington DC area.

Firstly, a note to those who not speak English as primary language: American Southerners, particularly individuals from some parts of the Southeast, have a regional accent that will make one feel as if he is a little kid being castigated by a school principal if he has done something wrong or is being evasive in his answers. Rep. Gowdy is no exception to this - his manner of speech caused me to feel as if I was the one in trouble and I was on the Congressman's side. When he addresses the director by name, it sounds like he is almost feeling revulsion at having to speak the words. It comes out sounding like "Mister Jaarvis". I was reminded of my days as a Marine Corps recruit in Parris Island, South Carolina when I would (thankfully) occasionally be harangued by a non-commissioned officer drill instructor for a wrongful act or omission.

"During a U.S. House hearing concerning the closure of national parks and monuments during the partial government shutdown, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) scolded the director of the National Park Service for treating “pot-smoking” demonstrators in the Occupy movement with more respect than the nation’s war veterans.
Gowdy relentlessly challenged National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis to cite the federal regulation that prompted his department to put up barricades to keep veterans out of war memorials on the first day of the shutdown. He also pointed out that the Park Service failed to issue a single citation when Occupiers camped out at D.C.’s McPherson Square for 100 days — 100 days in “non-compliance” with federal regulations.

That was two years ago,” Jarvis explained.

“Well, I can cite you the regulation that you did not follow two years ago. Can you cite me the regulation that required you to erect barricades from accessing a monument that they built?” Gowdy pressed........"

Gowdy then pressed Jarvis for a reason why opted to decline to enforce federal regulations for 100 days when Occupy (Wall St.) protesters literally used space to camp overnight during that period on McPherson Square in Washington DC. He also again asked if the director could cite a regulation that required that barricades be placed to block entrance to the memorials. Jarvis did little more than dance around the questions.

"Unimpressed, Gowdy snapped back: “Do you consider it First Amendment activity to walk to a monument that you helped build, or is it only just smoking pot at McPherson Square?

We are content-neutral on First Amendment on the National Mall,” Jarvis replied calmly.

That wasn’t my question,” the South Carolina Republican pressed. “Do you consider it to be an exercise of your First Amendment rights to walk to a monument that you helped build?”
Jarvis then claimed that the veterans would have been permitted to enter the war memorials if they “declared” they were exercising their First Amendment rights.

“Who were they to declare it to? A barricade?” Gowdy responded sarcastically. “Mr. Chairman, I want the record to reflect that no statute or code of the federal regulation was cited to justify the erection of barricades.”

The text (which only contains excerpts) does no in any way do justice to the work of Rep. Gowdy, nor can it provide a clear mental picture of the line of questioning. It was a take-no-prisoners event. 

The video is short but it is a must-see. 

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