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Friday, June 26, 2015

My Yellowstone National Park vacation—a conservation monument created by a bloody imperialist

I just got back from my vacation trip to Yellowstone National Park. The park system was invented by past President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt. His image and his name are everywhere in the park. I spent several days in a small cabin my wife and I rented in a place called Roosevelt Lodge Cabins.
Teddy did some fine things, such as supporting unions against assaults by their corporate masters. He was interested in land and wildlife conservation. That is why he developed the park system with the idea that wild animals in the US could be protected from extinction. He liked to hunt and wanted to make sure such animals were available to future generations.
On the negative side Roosevelt was a hard core imperialist and war monger. While president he chose to colonize the Philippines and crush an independence movement led by Emilio Aguinaldo.  He supported the Spanish-American War in Cuba. It was during that war that he put together an imperialist private army of mercenaries that he called the Rough Riders.
A lot of places are named after the Rough Riders as if they were heroes. My cabin was in an area called the Rough Riders. At a small general store they have a giant stuffed teddy bear dressed to look like a Rough Rider. He has glasses to look like Roosevelt and his hat has "Junior Rough Rider" on it. It looks very cute (see picture below). But this glorification of the Rough Riders is deceptive. The Rough Riders were probably an illegal regiment considering they had no legal authorization to exist. Their purpose was to violate the rights of the Cuban people to develop their own independence movement. The goal was US colonization of that island. They were a sloppy and murderous gang of adventurers. There was nothing heroic about them. They were a bunch of imperialist bandits who wanted to fight off the Spanish, but not to liberate Cuba or to free its people. They wanted to enslave Cuba's people. They wanted to turn the Island into a piece of US property.
Roosevelt was probably one of the US's most pro-war presidents in history. He liked war and treated it as if it were the same thing as a hunting trip. For him it was a chance for adventure and opportunity. War is bloody, brutal and cruel and yet Roosevelt treated it as simply a good career move.
I enjoyed a wonderful vacation at a park that was a great idea by a really bloody and evil president. It is a tragedy that a president could have such good accomplishments and yet have such evil designs as well.   
-សតិវ អតុ 

My wife, Cam, stands next to a giant cuddly Rough Rider teddy bear. Imperialism and murder made cute.

Yellowstone does have lots of animals preserved in it.  

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