Letter: Today’s GOP wouldn’t have established park

Jul. 15, 2014 @ 04:45 PM

Editor,

Sevier County is a white-hot engine of tea party conservatism, as is conspicuous on the pages of The Mountain Press. It is flanked by, and owes much to, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a precious pearl of the universe safeguarded by enlightened federal action decades ago.

If today’s Republican Party had controlled the federal or Tennessee and North Carolina governments in the 1920s and 1930s, is there any chance the park would stand today rather than a hellscape of clearcuts, strip-mines, and private villas?

Do many of our national visitors know that their money indirectly feeds a political establishment whose ideology detests the very notion of national parks?

Does our political class vote to protect common treasures akin to the Smokies with the misfortune of lying outside park boundaries, or condemn them to death in imitation of their Republican soulmates in West Virginia and Kentucky who have divested their state’s land and dignity? If you perceive the same awkward incongruity as I in these self-answering questions, perhaps Sevier County needs a political and spiritual self-interrogation.

Jim Steitz

Gatlinburg