The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion All the national monuments are bad, and here’s why

A satirical take on the Trump administration's suggestion that national monuments have little value. (Video: Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post, Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

According to a series of emails that the Trump administration has now attempted to retract, national monuments are just large piles of junk that need to be Kondo-Ed out of the national landscape as soon as possible. Why protect these places, when they are full of oil and minerals that could be harvested to good effect? Tear them down. Cannibalize them for parts.

After all, what is nature, but a place where no matter where you sit you will become unpleasantly hot or damp or cold or dry or somehow, all four at once? It is a place where bears threaten you, pigeons have no regard for you and sundry insects feast upon your flesh. It is best seen from the safety of the default image that accompanies your Mac or PC. Once you start to see things in these terms, it is easy to make a case against most of the monuments. I’ve made a start below.

Bears Ears: I hate to point this out, but these are not really bears’ ears. These are large pieces of rock. It is this kind of laxity with language that makes the Grand Tetons so disappointing.

Castle Clinton: The Clintons have a castle and they expect the TAXPAYERS to fund it? Nope.

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Castle Mountains: Again, the American people do not need to protect all of these castles, especially now that Scott Pruitt is not there to demand to stay in them for long periods of time at taxpayer expense.

Cedar Breaks: It says in the name that this cedar is faulty, and the last thing we need is further liability. This wood can be used to make something patriotic like small toothpicks with flags on them that can be planted in the tops of hamburgers.

Chimney Rock: We have evolved a great deal since the days of getting really excited that a rock was shaped like something that was not a rock, which seems to be the premise behind many of these monuments. Now we can make actual chimneys ourselves, from brick and other materials. Ditch.

Craters of the Moon: (a) Again, this is not on the moon! (b) The other argument for keeping this was if we ever again had to fake a moon landing. But now a moon landing is not the problem; it is a Mars landing we have got to think about.

Devils Postpile: The Postal Service is already under enough stress without having to deliver mail to Satan.

Devils Tower: I understand what happened. At some point, we had good intentions, and then we found ourselves protecting not one but two landmarks sacred to Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies. But enough is, as they say, enough. Let him protect it himself like he did in Paradise Lost.

Dinosaur: “Dinosaur National Monument” sounds like a deservedly unsuccessful store-brand knockoff of “Jurassic Park,” and if it is anything like “Jurassic Park” we should not be protecting it.

Fort McHenry: This is the fort with the flag that inspired our unsingable anthem, and we should take it apart brick by brick until nothing remains.

Fort Ord: Is this the same Ord for whom the Chicago airport is named?

Fort Pulaski: Why do we have an entire fort named for the second-best doctor on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”?

Fort Sumter: Why would the Trump administration waste resources to preserve a fort where Union troops held out against a secessionist barrage when this could be torn down and used to refurbish a Confederate statue?

Giant Sequoia: This big tree is an enormous waste of space and is only of use to birds and fans of the movie “Avatar”; this could be cut into many small flagpoles or a giant viewing-stand for a military parade.

Grand Canyon: (Okay, technically a “park,” but still…) Putting “grand” in the name seems to be begging the question. Furthermore, there is nothing impressive about an enormous void space full of lizards and reddish rocks, or more people would find Donald Trump’s mind impressive.

Grand Staircase: What are we, a glamorous socialite in the 1930s hosting some sort of ball needing to make an entrance? Get rid of this.

Hovenweep: With a name like “Hovenweep,” this is surely just a “Game of Thrones” set and you won’t convince me it’s not.

Ironwood Forest: Same.

Jewel Cave: If we have a cave full of jewels, we should harvest them and use them to pay for the renovations of impoverished Trump officials. If it is a cave for the pop star of the same name, she can get a cave in the private sector like everyone else.

John Day Fossil Beds: We don’t need a fossil bed; we have regular beds!  Fossils should be removed from beds and placed in the Senate, as is only standard.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks: Tents are not made out of rocks. This is another of those Rock That Looks Like Something Else scenarios. Ditch.

Katahdin Woods and Waters: This “woods and waters” seems awfully broad. Waters are capable of defeating human beings with ease in the cosmic game of rock, paper, scissors that is human survival. They need no protection from us; meanwhile, we can definitely take down trees and we should give them no quarter.

Lava Beds: Why do we have all these beds made out of lava and fossils when beds ought to be made from Tempur-Pedic Foam or the My Pillow Substance of Unidentified Provenance? Here is what happens if you lie down in a lava bed: First you die, and then you become rock. This ought to be discouraged.

Marianas Trench Marine: I would suggest we cannibalize this for parts but who knows what great beast (its hour come round at last) does not lurk beneath the ocean waiting for just such an attempt.

Misty Fjords: Keep these! They sound Norwegian.

Mount St. Helens: This is an actual volcano. We do not need to protect the volcano from us. We need to protect ourselves from it. Everything about this is backward.

Natural Bridges: Nature should not build bridges. Infrastructure Week should build bridges.

Petroglyph: We have computer graphics now! We do not need to hang onto this. We are not the fridge of a proud parent.

Poverty Point: This administration is doing too much to preserve poverty as it is.

Prehistoric Trackways: If they had been used in the past thousands of years, they would be called “Trackways” so I think we are safe to get rid of them.

President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home: We all remember that President Lincoln did something that was important to do, and especially at that time. We do not need to cordon off this space for remembering.

Rainbow Bridge: Pride month is over!

Statue of Liberty: Ditch this! It keeps encouraging people to come to America.

Sunset Crater Volcano: ANOTHER VOLCANO! Stop protecting them! They wouldn’t protect you! They would cover you in ash and let your descendants know that your last act was to cower in a brothel.

Vermilion Cliffs: We should just call these the Red Cliffs! The name Vermilion Cliffs gives them undue airs. This rock should be converted into a tasteful lobby furnishing or a statue of a tanned leader.

White Sands: They are white; leave them.

Yucca House: Keep because when you say it, it sounds like you’re saying, “YUCK! A HOUSE!”

Washington Monument: Ditch. This is not the best use of the limestone. It should be made into an even bigger obelisk to honor the current president of the United States.