Hubris

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved...

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Hubris is a word which came into common usage in American English with the demise of the George W. Bush Presidency, and has often been used in conjunction with it. Pride, arrogance, insolence, and blindness to one’s own ambition; a tendency not to see one’s own faults and project them on to others: this is hubris. A paragon of hubris was the time Arizona Governor Fife Symington attempted to stage a military coup at the Grand Canyon. Under the guise of securing one of the seven natural wonders of the world as an Arizona State Park, Mr. Symington’s motivation for the attempted coup was really tied to his own personal business interests. Governor Fife Symington had long been an outspoken supporter of Uranium mining at the Grand Canyon. In 1995, as the American people faced the possibility of a federal government shut down over a budget dilemma, Mr. Symington tried a takeover of Grand Canyon National Park, backed by National Guard troops and brandishing a barrage of propaganda. The governor’s convoy of Arizona National Guard trucks, Department of Public Safety and state parks vehicles, and a helicopter escort arrived at Grand Canyon Airport, where the governor met Park Superintendent Rob Arnberger. Governor Symington held a half-hour press conference. Mr. Symington and  Superintendent Arnberger sequestered themselves in a private room to discuss the governor’s intentions where the governor commented, “I’m not here to see the canyon. I’m here to take it over.” Not unprepared for such behaviour from a notoriously capricious and conceited governor, (In anticipation of the governor’s intentions, the U.S. attorney in Arizona had begun preparing a request for a Temporary Restraining Order.) Mr. Arnberger replied, “The Attorney General’s office has informed us that such a take-over would be illegal.” Mr. Symington responded, “It may be illegal, but who will sue us?” Wes Gullett was Chief of Staff for Fife Symington from July 1993 to April 1996. He was Chief of Staff during this takeover attempt. Such hubris is not needed in the City of Phoenix Mayor’s office.

 

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About Stefan Jacke

MagicRobert presented me with a vellum document, composed in an insane script. We were in a well secured vault in the Michener Library. His face exploded into a broad smile, as he saw me recognize the words, "That government governs best which governs least." It was a copy of "On Civil Disobedience" in the author's own hand. The experience called to mind a conversation Henry David Thoreau had with Ralph Waldo Emerson, as Thoreau sat in a jail cell, incarcerated for protesting the Mexican War. Emerson asked, "David, what are you doing in there?" Thoreau responded, "The point is, Ralph, what are you doing out there?" Once, long ago, I jumped off of big red trucks, lifted weights, and cleaned toilets for a living. Then I wrestled drunks, ran around in circles, and got splattered with blood and all manner of body fluids for a living. Now I enjoy the stillness of early morning in my rocking chair on the porch, with a hot cup of coffee, trying in vain to forget the past. Thank you, Robert!
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