Trust is a two-way street

While timing may not be everything, it certainly is crucial and sometimes revealing. That’s how I approach the timing of the National Park Service’s decision last week to prohibit the transportation of fuels to the Glade Park community through the Colorado National Monument.

The timing and manner of the decision really is revealing for those who are cautious about the push to turn the monument into a national park. Proponents of the change have said that little would be altered if park status were bestowed upon our area. Those in the community who are worried that increased powers coming from a change in status might lead to overreach have been told that their concern is unwarranted.

Apparently that might not be the case.

The Park Service arrived at its decision allegedly after listening sessions with Glade Park residents, who apparently were happy to suggest that one of the two routes to bring them heating products during the icy winters should be off-limits.

I’m sure there are a couple of folks in the mix who, like the Obama administration, have an allergy to hydrocarbon fuels and an aversion to the internal combustion engine. But I doubt it’s anything close to a majority of the residents.

The Park Service cited the need to prevent an accident involving a fuel truck on the winding roads that make up part of the monument’s main access as the basis of its decision. However, I’m not aware of an example to justify the prohibition.

This is an opportunity to learn more about the manner of the Park Service’s decision-making. Would an arguably more powerful national park take into account the needs of the local community?

This feeling of general uneasiness is indicative of a growing mistrust of government in general and the federal government in particular.

There seems to be a sense of capriciousness and heavy-handedness in response to issues, which raises concerns any time the national government is involved in a situation.

Many people are rightly concerned about escalated responses to what seem like fairly benign situations involving the federal government.

The Cliven Bundy episode in Nevada is an example. It’s hard to determine who mashed the accelerator on the situation first but there’s no denying a volatile state of affairs was, in part, created because so many citizens were prepared to believe that federal authorities were capable of taking a drastic action.

I don’t think that’s often the case but is more a side effect of a feeling of lawlessness coming from the upper echelons of government.

Lawlessness doesn’t just mean a Dodge City-like free-for-all, but action outside someone’s authority. Or a lack of required action.

We can visit a number of recent examples on the national level involving prisoner exchanges, embassy deaths and the politicizing of federal agencies like the IRS, to name a few.

Lawlessness and a lack of truthfulness are close companions. For instance, who really believes the IRS lost two years of Lois Lerner’s emails concerning the targeting of conservative groups for enhanced tax inspection? Anyone familiar with the missing 18½ minutes of audio tape during the Watergate proceedings will see an eerie parallel.

It’s not really that the Department of Education thinks it needs a SWAT team or that someday the Department of Health and Human Services may think it needs a submarine.

Seriously, who doesn’t want that kind of stuff (men, I believe I’m talking to us here) and when you have been at war as long as the United States has, there’s a lot of cool military hardware being made available to federal agencies and state and local ones, as well. If someone offered me a decommissioned F-14, I would probably want it, although my garage is much too small.

The problem is trust, not equipment. It seems many in government don’t trust citizens with firearms and unfortunately, that feeling is becoming reciprocated. A functional republic is based on mutual respect and trust. Actions less cavalierly executed than the Park Service’s recent ban might help in rebuilding that trust.

Rick Wagner writes more about politics on his blog,  The War on Wrong.


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