Do protesters even know what they're yelling about anymore?
President Trump went to Utah Monday to announce he was scaling back the size of two national monuments designated (one each) by the last two Democratic presidents. The Bears Ears monument will be reduced from about 1.35 million acres to a bit more than 200,000 acres, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument will be reduced from about 1.7 million acres to 1 million acres.
Trump was essentially taking some of the land that is now controlled by the federal government — some of it, not all of it — and giving control back to Utah.
"Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington," Trump told Utah. "And guess what? They're wrong."
So, of course, he was met by addled protesters who accused Trump of orchestrating a "land grab." While Trump was explaining how he was relinquishing federal control of Utah's land, one protester illogically asked Trump to "keep your tiny hands off our public lands."
Tiny hands joke aside, that is just what Trump was doing.
Another protester, equally confused and upset with the 2016 election, held a sign that said, "Don't [land] grab my pussy."
The perverse logic of these protesters is clear. Something only belongs to the people if it belongs to the federal government. To remove land from the federal government's control is to take it from the people.
Under that construction, the Left should at least be thankful that there is still plenty of "our" land remaining. A map often displayed by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, shows a bounty of "our" land out West — in fact, "we" already control most of the land in the 13 western-most states.
But anyone with their two feet planted on the ground can see the bigger picture. The goal here shouldn't be to see how much land the federal government can control.
Taking it away from the feds doesn't mean "the people" don't control it any more. It just means different people control it, the people who happen to live closest to it. The land being disputed this week is sitting in Utah. The state will get a little bit more control (look how red that state is in the map above), and it'll be up to people in Utah to decide what to do with it.
Folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote "This Land is Your Land" as a sarcastic response to the ubiquitous "God Bless America." But even he got it right: "This land is your land, this land is my land." He said nothing about this land being "our" land.
Environmentalists may have legitimate reason to worry that Utah will now turn around and decide to do something with this land that they don't like, such as allowing grazing or natural resources exploration. Probably that will happen in some cases. Utah might decide to sell land, or put it to use differently now that the decisions can be made by someone other than a former president and his former team of advisers.
But environmentalists are free to take it up with the people in Utah who will decide these things. This land is their land.