Sunday, July 12, 2009


I'm sure everyone has read or seen the story about Greenpeace activists scaling Mt Rushmore on July 8th and unfurling a large banner beside Lincoln's face with the message: "America honors leaders not politicians: Stop Global Warming." (They should have placed it by Teddy; he would have appreciated it more.)

Photo: Kate Davison/Greenpeace/AFP/Getty Images

You can see the Greenpeace climbers do their thing here on youtube.

My first thought when I read the news articles was, "Wow, how did they pull that off?!" And I'll admit I also thought "Well, at least that's a message I agree with." (I allow myself to end sentences with prepositions when I'm just thinking.)

However, I also found their actions disconcerting. If Greenpeace could breach security, another group could do the same. Our famous national monument could be host to a variety of political messages and even stupid ads, perhaps something like this:

photoshopping by me

Plus I don't want people damaging the monument. (At least the Greenpeace climbers used anchors already installed by the Park Service for cleaning and repair.)

In any event, I think the National Park Service needs to rethink their security system. (I'm sure they are.) I also think that Greenpeace might want to rethink their strategy, because while their actions might have helped energize the base, they also probably turned most other folks off. For one thing taxpayers probably won't be too happy about footing the bill for the cost -- probably in tens of thousands of dollars -- of prosecuting the climbers and beefing up security.

Also Mt Rushmore is such a beloved national monument that most people (including myself) object to defacing it in any way. (Although I'll admit that Mike G. of Greenpeace raises an interesting point: "Mount Rushmore was built on a mountain stolen from Native Americans. Adding insult to injury, we then carved a bunch of white people’s faces into it. So you gotta ask yourself: What does Mount Rushmore really represent?)

I hope that all of this doesn't impact the plan to open new hiking trails in the Mt Rushmore area (because I want to use them!)... and I also hope that the planet isn't too hot to enjoy them if/when the trails actually do open.


David said...

You make some great points. I agree with the message, but don't like the fact that they did it to Rushmore.

Mike G has a good point too, it's very true, but by his logic you could rationalize just about any illegal action. Our nation's economy got a huge head start that lead to success because it was built upon the free labor of slavery. So does that justify an individual to fraud the government or do insider trading for some "ethical" reason? I think not.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Though...Teddy is looking at the message.

As someone who has spent a bit of time in the Black Hills, with the wonderful natives, I can tell you that they laugh at us for actually believing for one second that any land anywhere actually belongs to us.

dust bunny said...

If I wanted to put up a sign (and I would never actually DO that, mind you), it would have to say, "Dust Bunny Rules" or "Eat at Joe's"....something of real consequence. Political/Environmental statements are so last week.

dust bunny said...

excuse me....that should read, "Eat at JO's". Not to be confused with Joe's.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

well you big thinker you! i admit i read the story and thought 'who cares?'... perhaps b/c upon returning from vacay my slate here was full and i didn't want it to be... i wanted to be on vacay and part of it we missed was heading thru the black hills... *sigh*

really my alibi is airtight. no kidding...

Processing Counselor said...

That Abe was a sly dog.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. I really didn't pay much attention to the news story, but your post made me think.