Commentary Magazine


RE: Shutdown Won’t Stop Park Ranger Meeting

On Thursday, I wrote about the poor optics of the decision of the Association of National Park Rangers to go ahead and hold their convention despite the government shutdown. The point was that it was hypocritical for a group whose members that have been central to the administration’s shutdown theatrics to stage a gathering at which many of the speakers would be government employees who would be coming on government time, if not the government dime.

However, as several correspondents have written, ANPR is a private organization, and its members are traveling to it at their own expense. The event is not, strictly speaking, a government function or event. While my post did not state that it was, given that the distinction was not fully explained, readers may have been left with that impression.

Nevertheless, the point about the inappropriate timing of the convention and the distressing use of the Park Rangers by the administration, still holds. While the ANPR website took pains to inform that the event would continue “despite the current federal government shutdown,” it is good to see that the ANPR website now includes a caveat that the “the program may require changes due to some speakers being unable to attend because of the government shutdown,” although program changes will not address the poor optics of the event.