Glenn Beck hosted a rally on the National Mall this weekend to protest national parks being closed during the government shutdown, and he and and dozens of Tea Partiers showed their great dedication to this symbol of our nation by picking up trash on the mall. Except there wasn't really any trash to pick up. Black plastic bags twisted anemically in tea partiers' hands instead ballooning full of garbage. Animal New York's Andy Cush got video of the lush, green, trashless expanse from Aaron Black, an Occupy Wall Streeter, who, obviously, was not sympathetic to Beck's cause. "Patriots answered his call and showed that the government can't shut the people down," the conservative tweet site Twitchy said, noting Instagrams of Beck and Utah Sen. Mike Lee holding plastic bags for the cameras.
During the shutdown, the national parks have become an unlikely cause for conservatives. World War II veterans invaded their memorial when they were blocked from entering, and Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz protested veterans being unable to enter the closed parks this weekend. People at the Million Veterans March ("million" is not a literal term in Washington marches these days) left "Barrycades" in front of the White House. But at least one symbol of waste and neglect of our national treasures — trash on the mall — simply hasn't had time to accumulate for maximum photo op effectiveness.