Originally Published: October 5, 2013 6:01 a.m.
We're in our fifth day of Arizona's most popular tourist attraction being closed due to the government shutdown. Politicians from DC to Arizona have relegated the Grand Canyon herself into a pawn for public point-scoring.
Never mind the fact that 2,200 workers associated with the Canyon were given furloughs. Or the economic impact of closing the attraction. Or the impact to all the related businesses.
Or the simple fact that none of us can simply visit one of the world's great wonders during this round of anti-American politico squabbling by our so-called leaders.
Gov. Jan Brewer's request to reopen Grand Canyon National Park using state funds was rebuked Thursday. In short, the offer was nice but impossible to honor during a federal government shutdown.
When the 1995 government shutdown closed the Grand Canyon (the only other time since 1919 the Canyon has been closed), Arizona eventually used its own state funds to cover the reported $17,000 a day to keep open the road to the Grand Canyon Village.
There's something revealing about how the governor's office can suddenly pony up money when it identifies a financial injustice. We should all remember that next time the Legislature eliminates funding for other worthwhile causes, like Medicaid, CPS, public education or the nonprofit arts industry.
Think any of those agencies could use a governor-endorsed sudden infusion of $17,000 in state money per day?
We all want the Grand Canyon open. It just may be more politically beneficial to use a ploy to suddenly fund it with state money in order to wage a public battle with the federal government.
Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin picked up the war of words, telling the Arizona Republic, "It's ridiculous. Why wouldn't the federal government let local communities or states assist in keeping some of these things open?"
So, let's check some math.
Our state politicians can throw hyperbolic blame at the feds for state funding they suddenly deem appropriate, but won't fund other programs critical to state interests or state voters when there's no federal government to politically scapegoat.
Can our state elected officials worry about their own dysfunction before taking on Washington? Please??