Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>Do As I Say, Not As I Do</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Monday, May 23, 2005

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Bush's Biking An Exercise In Effrontery

It paints such a melancholy scene. The president riding his bicycle in solitude through the unspoiled wilderness of the Patuxent Research Refuge near Washington, D.C.

It's so lonely at the top.

In fact, this is what he was doing while all hell was breaking loose because a small plane had violated the airspace at the nation's capital.

In the real world, however, this scene won't happen too often again. Dubya currently has the means to empty the refuge of all human life (except for secret service agents) while he meanders through its environs, but few others are allowed into this sanctuary. And his policies cut funding for it's operation, so even he won't be able to enjoy it's beauty indefinitely.

When the wayward Cessna approached the White House last week, the president was out riding his mountain bike on the winding trails of Patuxent Research Refuge, 12,790 acres of woods and ponds where endangered whooping cranes live, migratory birds make their pit stops, and hikers, hunters and bird-watchers spend their leisure hours.

But don't expect to follow President Bush's example in the late afternoon or evening, or on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July or any other national holiday, because the same president who repairs to Patuxent for his recreation has saddled the refuge with budget cuts that have forced a sharp reduction in its public opening hours and other services.

Even as the refuge faces sharply rising energy costs and deferred maintenance demands, the facility has been hit with a 2 percent midyear budget cut, a decline in staffing and steadily increasing responsibilities, including post-9/11 mandates that it hire more law enforcement officers.

As it is, the public is not allowed near dubya's biking trails, as they are used primarily for the refuge's scientists, and are adjacent to an NSA shooting range. Two of the refuge's available facilities have been closed recently because of budget cuts, as well as it's longstanding Boy Scout and Girl Scout camping programs.

Dubya, however, still has biking privileges in the area, which frequently leads to evacuation of scientists in the interest of national security.

The sight of Bush pedaling through the Central Tract has struck even some of his political critics as sad -- the image of a man being taken in his security cocoon into a park swept clear of other human beings just so he can ride a bike drives home the old line about there being no lonelier job than the presidency.

"You almost feel sorry for the guy," says refuge volunteer Sue Darcey. "Except that if he understands the need for recreation, how about funding the refuges so we can all go biking in the woods?"

"please don't find oil here"


  • Agree 100%
    That photo and the caption made my eyes tear up. I'm a major nature lover and I can't understand why we can't leave what little wild lands and wildlife we have, alone.

    pissed off patricia

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:26 PM  

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