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.