Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Did Anyone Tell The Animals?

We recently had a one-day government shutdown in my home state of Pennsylvania – due to our bloated state legislature and the governor being unable to agree on a budget prior to the new fiscal year.

It wasn’t a complete shutdown; those services deemed essential for “health and safety” – like the State Police – continued operating. But other things were closed. I remember reading a news release from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) which solemnly stated, “All state parks and state forests will be closed.” What I wondered was, “Did anyone tell the animals their homes would be shuttered?”

Ever wanting to do my part, I tried my best to inform the wildlife my sister and I encountered on a hike in Lackawanna State Park the weekend before the shutdown. We couldn’t catch the attention of a soaring bald eagle – we didn’t look enough like prey, I guess. The three deer we encountered scurried away before we could get close enough to relay the news. A series of large spider webs were unoccupied; we would have left a note, but we didn’t have anything to write on. Finally, we got close enough to a red salamander, but the creature mutely professed indifference to our warning. I wonder if DCNR had the same results.

I think it odd that with the criteria for deciding what parts of state government would remain open being “health and safety,” the state liquor stores (ask me about those another time), the state lottery and the five slots casinos remained open. (The latter took a court order to accomplish.) Here’s how I look at it: the shutdown occurred on one of the hottest and most humid days of the year – with excessive heat warnings issued. For many people – particularly in urban areas – the only relief from the dangerous heat would be a nearby state park pool, beach or forest. But they were closed. What happened to “health and safety?” I suppose they could take comfort that the lottery was still in full operation. Oh, and one other thing: the state Revenue Department was shut down. Now there’s progress.

The Great Pennsylvania Government (Partial) Shutdown of 2007 is history, and like the Federal government shutdown in late 1995, the cause was the same: a sandbox fight between two children who haven’t yet learned how to play nicely together yet. What a state! What a country!

1 comment:

G's Cottage said...

I read that some in cabins did not leave because they were already there and likely wouldn't get a refund. This is rumor. of course.