|Privatizing the national parks|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2003/08/22 10:00 北京青年报|
From the 1920s through the 1940s, Republicans were famously reluctant to support government services. They wanted government small and taxes low, with individuals in economic trouble left to fend for themselves. During the Cold War, Republicans switched gears and supported vast military budgets, but they never relaxed their opposition to social spending. But the Republicans were the minority party in Congress until the 1990s, forced to defer to Democratic big spenders.
Things are different now. In control of both houses of Congress, the GOP is seeking ways to downsize the federal bureaucracy by outsourcing in the private sector. Recently it was revealed that Republican administrators were considering schemes to privatize large parts of the National Park Service and the National Forest Service. This raised howls of protest from numerous quarters. For many of the people who work for these two agencies, the public stewardship of nature is less a job than a calling.①You will notice this yourself if you ever visit America's national parks. The park rangers are immensely proud of the wonders they protect, and it shows in their attitude toward the public, in their friendly eagerness to awaken the same devotion in visitors.
David Horsey imagines a future in which management of the national parks has been turned over to corporations. A hiker demands that bears be stopped from rampaging through the garbage, but the two "rangers" are unmotivated young people working for the federal minimum wage; dealing with bears is not in their job description.
The park has been commercialized: "Parks R Us" imitates the name of a well-known chain of toystores, Toys R Us. The sign on the hut states the fees for various services, and the main function of these employees seems to be sales, not conservation.
For Horsey, privatizing the national parks is a "bush league idea". In professional baseball, a bush league is a "minor league", not a "major league" with first-rate players. Major-league teams play in ballparks; minor league teams play, metaphorically, "out in the bushes" away from big cities. But the cartoonist is making a pun here, as bush league is also "Bush league", second-rate because it comes from people with minds like that of President George W. Bush.
这个公园已经商业化了，“Parks R Us”(公园是我们的)是模仿众所周知的玩具连锁店的名字Toys R Us，小屋上的价目表标明了各种服务的费用，这些员工的主要职能似乎就是做买卖，而不再是保护大自然了。
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