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Biden Admin Bans Mt. Rushmore Firework Celebration - The Reason Will Make Your Blood Boil

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There’s nothing more American than fireworks at Mt. Rushmore on the Fourth of July. And for the third straight year, they won’t be happening — all thanks to President Joe Biden’s administration.

According to South Dakota NBC affiliate KNBN, the National Parks Service has declined to allow a permit for an Independence Day bash at the American landmark.

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem announced the rejection on Twitter on Thursday.

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According to the Daily Caller, a letter from Mount Rushmore National Memorial Superintendent Michelle Wheatley to Wanda Goodman of the South Dakota Department of Tourism said that fireworks displays at Mount Rushmore “continue to be viewed by multiple Tribes as an adverse effect on the traditional cultural landscape.”

“This view was expressed by consulting [Native American] Tribes in 2020 and has been reaffirmed by Tribal government representatives in subsequent meetings and letters,” Wheatley wrote.

Noem had filed suit after the Biden administration rejected her application for a fireworks display in 2021, citing the Department of the Interior’s decision as “arbitrary,” according to KNBN.

However, the Eighth Circuit of Appeals found the objections were moot because the suit was filed after the event had already passed and the government had the right to deny fireworks permits at national memorials.

Should there be fireworks at Mount Rushmore?

“Nobody has a right to shoot off fireworks on someone else’s land, whether it be a neighbor; an area business; or as is the case here, a national park,” wrote Judge David Straus in his opinion.

“Each of these situations requires permission, and for a national park, the way to get it is by requesting a permit. With no substitute, doing away with this process will only make it harder, not easier, for South Dakota to remedy its claimed injury.”

The application for the 2023 fireworks permit had already been filed by the time Straus had made his decision, however.

In a 2021 Op-Ed for National Review, Noem struck back at the Biden administration’s decision to deny the permit, calling Mount Rushmore “the perfect place to mark our independence.”

“Unfortunately, the Biden administration does not share South Dakota’s desire to celebrate America’s birthday at our Shrine of Democracy,” she wrote.

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“It has arbitrarily and unlawfully denied our permit to hold the event this year, violating a memorandum of agreement that the state of South Dakota had with the Department of Interior.”

At that time, it had less to do with Native American tribes and more to do with that catch-all excuse to clamp down on mass gatherings liberals don’t like: the possibility of a super-spreader event.

“The Biden administration argues that the COVID pandemic should preclude a fireworks celebration. But South Dakota’s COVID cases are the lowest they’ve been in 14 months. There were zero cases tied to last year’s fireworks event. And more than half of all South Dakota adults have been fully vaccinated,” she wrote.

Of course, it’s not like Biden had a problem with fireworks at his inauguration, but apparently COVID doesn’t affect Democrats celebrating righteous causes, or whatever.

And tribal issues were also moot, Noem wrote.

“The administration points out that certain Native American tribes were opposed to the event. But we consulted with them before last year’s celebration,” she said. “We included programming to celebrate Native heritage at the event. If the administration actually believes this reason for canceling, then it would have to shut down the memorial altogether. I hesitate to write that, though. I don’t want to give the Biden bureaucrats any more bad ideas.”

“Unfortunately, by canceling our fireworks celebration, the Biden administration is caving to the radical elements of the modern Democratic Party,” she added.

“They wish to cancel the great men on that mountain who accomplished so much to make America the most special nation in history. It’s but their latest attack on American history and our founding principles. It falls in line with recent promotion of critical race theory and revisionist history like the 1619 Project.”

Of course, Noem is forgetting one somewhat more petty potential reason behind the denial: Former President Donald Trump hosted a much-ballyhooed Independence Day fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore in 2020, and anything that smacks of Trumpiness must be stamped out at all costs.

It also doesn’t help that Noem herself is one of Biden’s bêtes noire — and a potential 2024 presidential challenger to boot.

Whatever the real reason, this is beyond petty: denying a fireworks permit at the Shrine of Democracy for July 4th because of a handful of Native American activists, specious environmental concerns and an animus toward the politicians associated with it.

This pathetic snub of a patriotic bash for the greatest nation on earth cannot be allowed to die quietly with a silly letter about how “consulting Tribes” view fireworks as having “an adverse effect on the traditional cultural landscape.” Someone has to be held to account for these blood-boiling excuses.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture