In an action that I can only describe as tragic, the United State National Park Service announced today that it has contracted to add the face of President Obama to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial near Rapid City, South Dakota. Evidently secret negotiations between the Park Service and the private donors sponsoring the addition have been ongoing since the later part of 2009. The American tax payer will not foot any of the bill as a combination of the Nobel Foundation (sister organization to the Nobel Prize) and the Soros Foundation have agreed to cover the entire cost of the addition. When asked about the timing of the announcement the Nobel Foundation spokesman Thor Karolinska told the press “we awarded President Obama a Nobel Prize for winning his first election, we thought something a bit more permanent would be more appropriate for his second victory.”
The project will be completed in phases with the planning stage already finished. The Park Service conceded that the five-year schedule is going to be a serious challenge given that the original work took fourteen years, but the contract provides that workers salaries will be increased for every additional year that the work continues providing the necessary incentives to have the work completely in a timely fashion. ”We did discuss the potential incentive for the workers to extend the schedule, but the unions convinced us that they would keep the workers properly motivated,” said Hugar.
Technical difficulties originally put execution of the project in jeopardy. ”One of the key problems that we faced was finding suitable rock for the new carving,” stated NPS spokesman Tre Hugar. ”Most of the rock around the existing sculpture is quite fragile and obviously we can’t do anything to threaten the integrity of the original memorial. Now that we have completed the feasibility study, we are moving directly to design and have tentatively settled on this digitally created projection of the look of the final work” (See picture above) ”Obviously a huge part of this is the generous donations of the donors that allow all of this to be done without any federal funds.”
George Soros reacts to the news that his offer to build the Obama portion of the National Memorial had been accepted.
While most of the media appropriately focused on the timing and execution of the work and the splendor of the proposed addition, Fox reporter Reich Whing dampened the festivities at the announcement ceremony when he asked Mr. Hugar “what has President Obama done to deserve to be a part of this National Memorial.” There was an extremely awkward pause from the dais before Mr. Hugar responded “Because . . . isn’t it obvious? There has really never been a discussion of rationale because the committee universally recognized the accomplishments of President Obama.” When pressed to identify those accomplishments, Mr. Hugar called on another reporter and said “let’s move on to more relevant questions.”
Significant behind the scenes controversy was generated in discussions with native americans who considered further work on the memorial just to be yet another attack on sacred lands. ”Originally we thought that this project was just another desecration of our sacred lands. The Black Hills are sacred to the Lakota Sioux, the original occupants of the area when white settlers arrived,” commented tribal leader Fred “Black Jack” Napayshni. ”We have reached an agreement with the National Park Service that will allow us to expand our gaming casino so we have withdrawn any objection.” Napayshni’s concerns have historical support starting with the Treaty of 1868, in which the U.S. government promised the Sioux territory that included the Black Hills in perpetuity. Perpetuity lasted only until gold was found in the mountains and prospectors migrated there in the 1870s. The federal government then forced the Sioux to relinquish the Black Hills portion of their reservation.
One of the toughest parts of the negotiations was the decision on the size and make up of the workers that will actually carry out the work. ”We had a real battle between the National Pipefitters Union and the Screen Actors Guild,” said an exhausted but elated Hugar. ”Both have serious underemployment problems right now and both played significant roles in the Obama campaign.” Ultimately the decision was made to hire several hundred workers from both unions but then also to hire a cadre of miners and artists that were actually qualified to do the work.
“This is simply a national disgrace,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner, “we could never raise the money to have Ronald Reagan memorialized and now Obama is going to take the last place on the mountain where anyone can be added.”