Jay Meehan: Renaming Utah’s most iconic drive after Trump would be nothing short of desecration
“Theater of the absurd. n. A form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence by employing disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue, purposeless and confusing situations, and plots that lack realistic or logical development.”
~ The Free Online Dictionary
Renaming southern Utah’s iconic S.R. 12 for Donald Trump? You gotta be kidding me. Could someone please check and see if French philosopher Albert Camus is still in his grave? And while you’re at it, find out if Sisyphus punched in at his jobsite this morning.
Utah State Democratic Senator Jim Dabakis had the only logical reaction when he tweeted: “H.B. 481, ‘Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway Designation’ passed House Committee 9 to 2. If it gets to the Senate, I will present an amendment that the frontage road be designated as the Stormy Daniels rampway.”
Stormy, of course being the lung-rich porn star who has been in the news of late as having been paid off to the tune of $130,000 by Trump’s lawyer to cease discussing an alleged sexual encounter with our horndog-in-question back in 2006.
You can’t make this stuff up! If any section of scenic roadway ever spoke to the sacredness of red rock country it would have to be that stretch of asphalt from U.S. 89 south of Panguitch eastward through Red Canyon, nudging the entrance to Bryce Canyon, through Escalante, past Calf Creek, into Boulder Town, and up along the flank of Boulder Mountain to Torrey.
Sheer desecration is what it would be. And, as others have reasoned, that may well be the point: to rub our noses in it. What better way to demonstrate to us “elites” who is running the show. Elections, it would seem, even if rigged by the Russians, do have consequences.
I would offer that if it is to be named for a humanoid that it be for someone who worked to protect the Earth rather than use it for personal gain — maybe an Aldo Leopold or Wallace Stegner or David Brower or the like.
I would even nominate Edward Abbey, an obvious choice for the honor, except that it would probably cause him to emerge, shaking his fist, from his well-rumored burial site in the “Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge” along the Arizona borderland with Sonora.
A cantankerous sort, Abbey’s argument would probably be something along the lines of “how could we possibly disturb his slumber to protect a paved road?”
One of my favorite Abbey quotes came about when he was asked when he planned on leaving his job as ranger at Arches (then a national monument). He responded, pointing at the rough dirt byway running through the park, “the day after they pave this.” Abbey, as you no doubt have figured out by now, didn’t spend much time championing pavement.
And, as I understand it, that was pretty much, time-wise, how he orchestrated his exit. They paved it and he hit it, the road that is. Although I totally understand his purist notions, I choose to not side with him on this issue, at least in the manner in which, through hubris alone, I laid it out. Naming it for Trump is completely beyond the pale.
From what planetary blasphemy did such an idea occur? Why, from the narrow minds of Utah State Representative Mike Noel, R-Kanab, and his Kane County constituents who kept him in office long enough to rise to the chairmanship of the House Rules Committee.
Of course, from there it was easy sledding. All Noel had to do was fail to report his obvious conflict of interest of owning a chunk of land inside Grand Staircase that once his fellow Republican Trump finished carving up both Bears Ears and GSNM, found itself on the unprotected side of the line.
Noel pays his debts, however. Hence, the proposed “Donald J. Trump National Parks Highway.” Explaining the motivation for his proposal, however, he, no doubt with a straight face, closed the book on it being politically motivated.
“Contrary to some beliefs out there, Donald Trump really is a supporter of public lands. He’s a big supporter of national parks.”
You could have fooled me.
“For me personally,” Noel continued, “I was really, really happy that he downsized the Grand Staircase monument and Bears Ears because I believe that multiple use of public lands with adequate environmental protections is better than taking everything off the table.”
How do you say “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” in Navajo?
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Columnist Tom Clyde received his mail-in ballot this week. Unfortunately, he writes, filling it out won’t turn off the noise surrounding this election.