Beauty and the Beast

On August 9, 2020, some family members and I visited Glacier National Park in Montana and drove the west side of the Going to the Sun road to Logan Lodge at the Continental Divide. Those who have been there can understand my appreciation of the raw, immense beauty of the mountains and valleys. It is understandable why the local Indian tribes revered this area as sacred.

Twelve hours of steady driving there and home again. Well worth the time and expense. Nevertheless, there were a few flies in the ointment, one of which still smells badly, about which Donald John Trump, American President will be receiving a letter from me.

When we arrived at the little “village” (read that as ‘very expensive tourist trap’) at the entrance to the park, virtually everyone was wearing a face mask (Eric Peters calls them diapers), even while walking around in the clean, fresh air. There were signs everywhere requiring and/or encouraging people to wear one while shopping or even to allow entry into the buildings. Nothing new about that, of course, as it is par for the course nowadays. What amazed me was the near-universal compliance to this insult to our intelligence.

None of us in my party (myself, my wife, her sister, and her husband) had taken masks with us. We did not purchase any. We did not wear any. We were virtually the only ones there who were “unprotected” from the Corona Monster, as if it was lurking behind one of the peaks just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting visitors.

However, no one said anything to us about our “selfishness” or “murderous intent”. No one tried to restrict our entry into the shops or bathrooms. No one gave us dirty looks. In fact, as I remember it, many of the people there who had masks actually removed them at times or pulled them down below their noses or chins. Not while they were close to strangers, mind you, but if they were sitting at a table away from others, they did take some liberty.

Once we got into the park and away from the buildings, I did notice that most of the people who were wandering around in the fresh air or taking pictures were not wearing masks. In fact, out of the hundreds who were out of their cars, I only saw a few, probably not more than ten or twelve, who had their faces covered. From this, it seems evident that most people recognize the farce and only participate in it when they feel pressured.

Perhaps there is hope, after all!

The second thing, far more serious, occurred when we arrived at the check-in to the Going to the Sun road. Even though it was fairly early in the day, there was a long line of traffic going in and rangers were directing vehicles into this lane or that one, trying to maintain efficiency and flow. Eventually, we pulled up to a kiosk to pay the exorbitant $35.00 fee and were greeted by an unsmiling, unfriendly, no-nonsense, middle-aged woman who brusquely informed me that cash was not accepted and that I could only pay by credit card. Even though I had held out two twenty dollar bills to her and offered it to her twice, the answer was the same–credit card payments only.

My wife’s sister was hot.

“This is a national park, subject to the law! The law says that they have to take the cash! The dollar is legal tender for any debt, public or private! It says so right on the note! I’m going to write to President Trump about this! We should have forced them to accept it!”

Which is all very true and we probably could have demanded a hearing with a supervisor and insisted that they take the currency. More than likely, we would have won the argument, but we wanted to get in and simply gave the harpy attendant a credit card. Really, in hindsight, I should have told her that she was violating my civil liberties since she was not wearing The Mask and was definitely less than six feet away from me. Whoo, boy, that would have really created a stink! Pull over there! Get out of the car! ID, please!!

Perhaps I should sue the National Park Service over this? For certain, the president will hear from me.

Actually, it’s not the credit card payment which is the sticking point in my craw. I make payments all the time with my card, either in person or online, as do most other people. And it’s not the wearing of the face mask that bothers me even though I refuse to. The fact that others do is their business, not mine.

What gets me going is the fact that I am being told, literally ordered, to do these things. The governor says everyone MUST cover their face with a rag, whether they like it or not. The Powers That Be tell me that I MUST enter the digital world planned for me, whether I like it or not. You WILL conform, doggone it, whether you like it or not.

Well, now, not quite so fast! The more I get pushed into something, the stronger my resolve becomes to stand my ground. There comes a time when a man simply has to stand up for what he believes in. There comes a time when his liberty becomes more important than his convenience, perhaps even more important than his life. There comes a time when he refuses to give in to the opinions, tantrums, and dictates of those around him, choosing instead to live according to his principles and what is right.

President Trump? Are you listening?

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