Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

The Legacy of President George W. Bush


Right now oil exploration is taking place two miles from Arches National Park and at an accelerated rate of speed, as mandated by the Bush Administration. Scientists caution against such drilling and explorations, saying it could harm the parks.

©Bert Gildart: So how you gonna feel when you arrive at a backcountry campsite in Glacier and see that some mean-eyed dude has your site. It’s late in the day and you’re tired and you want to get set up. What you gonna do?

Probably you’ll mosey over and show him your permit. But wait, our space cadet has pulled out a flask and is lacing his branch water with some very healthy shots (were there others?) of fire water. And now as he turns, you can see he’s packing heat, a six gun strapped to his hip. Now what you gonna do?

Similar things have happen in our national parks and is one of the reasons I said in a recent posting that George Bush has again proven himself to be inept.

Folks, we don’t need guns in our national parks!

At the time of my gun posting, I also provided a link to Joe Kline’s column entitled “The Lamest Duck,” and one response to my column was to say that I was flirting with the “Straw man” approach of arguing. This time I don’t want any dissenters on that account, but I do want readers to understand my frustrations about events that have taken place on Bush’s watch and that are now escalating on, this, the man’s 11th hour. In fact, I am so distraught I believe one more hour of President George W. Bush could almost bring about a collapse of world order.


Those who have followed my posts know I revere our national lands and the wildlife therein. But Bush, with his mushroom clouds and other fear tactics, has transgressed beyond what should be reserved for opinions. Our “Decider-in-Chief, is arrogant! And his hauteur spills into all areas of our lives.

First let me begin by outlining a series of laws Bush has implemented that have and will undermine our natural world — and more. Agreed, much of this is opinion, but not the part that impacts on our nation’s security and our image abroad. When that happens doesn’t it put into question the capabilities of that person to make intelligent decisions in other areas as well?

Wolves: In the past two decades, the wolves of the northern Rocky Mountains have made remarkable progress toward recovery. Certainly this progress deserves celebration, but it is not yet complete. Wolves in the northern Rockies are endangered due to genetic isolation. Delisting, according to biologists, would further endanger wolves because of increased wolf killing, reduced wolf numbers, and less genetic exchange between wolf populations. Still, Bush is marching right ahead.

Polar Bears: The chief threat to the polar bear is the loss of its sea ice habitat due to global warming. However, the polar bear is also stressed by other human activity, particularly oil and gas development activities in its habitat, and just recently Bush delisted this magnificent species to “Threatened,” setting up possible extinction. That means millions of years in the making have all been for naught.

How can this man live with himself?

Oil Drilling, Utah

Just recently, the Bush administration opened the red rock country near two of Utah’s popular national parks to oil and gas drilling, over the objections of some park rangers in the Southwest and of government scientists. Bush wants federal land managers to speed up development, which includes work within a few miles of two national parks. One of those is Canyonlands, the other Arches.

Have you ever seen the beauty contained in these parks?

Arctic Refuge:

Because I’ve posted so much on this subject (Refuge 1; Refuge 2; Refuge3 are examples), I simply want to say that had George Bush accepted the advice of so many eight years ago and encouraged auto makers to create vehicles that obtained greater gas mileage, we might not be experiencing the problems we are today with the automobile industry. Sadly this list of environmental ineptitudes goes on and on…

But tragically for our fighting men, bad decisions have also reared their head in other areas, particularly those of national security. As well, it has affected our image abroad.

Will anyone loan me a shoe?


My dad, a retired army general, disliked Donald Rumsfeld, and that is putting it mildly. Dad agreed with General Shinseki, who was Chief of Staff of the United States Army until a run-in with Rumsfeld, then a member of the Bush cabinet. Shinseki believed several hundred thousand soldiers would probably be required for postwar Iraq. This was an estimate far higher than the figure proposed by Secretary Rumsfeld and in strong language he rejected it.


A Washington D.C. War Memorial. Because of Rumfeld's refusial to listen to professional soldiers, in this case General of the Army Shinseki , our casualites in Iraq have been higher than they should have been -- a commentary, perhaps, more on the Peter Principle than on George Bush himself.

OK! opinion is opinion, but it was the manner in which Rumsfeld disagreed with Shinseki that puts this one over the top. “He [Rumsfeld] didn’t even attend Shinseki’s retirement party,” said Dad. “And after all that man did for his country.”

Over time, it has become almost universally accepted in U.S. political circles that Shinseki was correct. Recently, President-elect Obama made Shinseki his Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and now, being the good son (Hope my sister IS NOT reading this one!), how can I do anything but applaud? (See Reflections: West Point)

My dad also disagreed with water boarding, as did John McCain, believing such torture served no use in obtaining the truth, and would only undermine America’s world-wide image.

Are they wrong? And if so, what will be the legacy of President George W. Bush. And how will foreigners view thee and me when we travel abroad?

I suspect we’ll be ducking lots of shoes.


And now Bush is authorizing guns in our national parks, setting up any number of scenarios. “[Soon,]” commented a scribe in Bill Schneider’s New West Column, “you will be able to take your registered firearm to any national park, find an animal you want to eat and yell, ‘It’s coming right for us!’ Then you let loose a salvo of life-saving lead.”

This man was responding to Bill, a good friend and once the publisher of Falcon guides, who in this case took a stand that goes contrary to mine. Still Bill is a kind, decent man – an excellent fisherman (Fishin’ Fool), too! – and if you want another view, check out his informative column. Bill also worked in Glacier, but never as a ranger.

Given the fact that park visitation sometimes includes some real ding-a-lings, be assured, problems such as just alluded to from Bill’s column are going to happen – and that need not be the case. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it.”

Ronald Reagan, who created the no guns policy in national parks, had a damn good idea.



*Christmas on the Road


One Response to “The Legacy of President George W. Bush”

  1. History Safari Express » Blog Archive » Happy New Year galaxy travelers Says:

    [...] – 2008… and a good time to raise our concerns for national lands and the wildlife therein (as recently done by writer and photographer, Bert Gildart)… and a time for contemplating New Year’s resolutions.  As darkness descended we [...]