This past weekend, about a dozen friends and I, broke the law. We defied federal orders not to enter a national park, and camped out overnight, in protest of the government closing national parks around the country. We built a fire, played music all night and even brought alcohol into the park, all completely against the rules set forth by the feds regarding behavior inside the park.

Here is a picture to show what it looked like, but I will decline to identify those in the picture, for obvious reasons. We had no encounters with park rangers or federal authorities, and this is probably due to the fact they had no idea we were there.

You see, we live in Alabama. The Talladega National Forest is huge, it spans across numerous counties, thousands and thousands of acres, most of it is wilderness area. Our grandparents knew this area well, and information about back trails and hidden passages, has been passed down through generations. So it wasn’t any trouble for us to make our way to this most beautiful site, high atop one of the small mountains. There was a fence to cross, but it was no trouble at all. The hike to the campsite was about 2 miles, but well worth the effort.

The National Forests and Parks are preserved for the people, not the government. It pissed off a lot of folks when the Obama Administration decided to exact “pain” on the people by closing these resources to the public, and we decided to protest. Rather than picket the entrance with signs and chants, we took it a proactive step further, and defied the law. We were all fully willing to accept the consequences of our actions, but were fairly certain we would never be caught.

Now, our particular group is not a bunch of Tea Party protesters, in fact, I am the only “right-winger” in the bunch. I know that sounds odd, that I would have such an abundance of liberal friends, but I am a musician and songwriter, and most musicians and songwriters happen to be liberal lefties. The majority of them are liberals who gleefully voted for Obama. What we share in common is love of music, nature and outdoors. We often try to avoid political conversations.

One thing that surprised me was the absence of blame my friends had for republicans. None of them seemed to think it was the Tea Party or Republicans to blame for shutting down the parks and monuments. They were well aware that efforts had been made to keep these facilities open, and it was merely a tactic of the administration to close them, in order to score political points. They blamed Obama, they blamed Congress, they blamed Obamacare, but none of my devoutly liberal friends even mentioned Ted Cruz.

As I sat there listening to my friends discuss the shutdown, I thought to myself, this deal with the closing of monuments and parks is a profound indictment on why we shouldn’t be turning health care over to the government. What’s going to happen when politicians decide to close down health care during a shutdown, to inflict pain and suffering? It’s terrible, not being able to go and pay respects at a memorial, or enjoy the beauty of a park, but what if the hospital closed or doctors are furloughed? Sorry, no more cotton balls and bandages until the shutdown is over! Politicians can’t agree on a budget, so your heart surgery will have to wait a few weeks–blame it on republicans!

It’s just one more thing the government has control of, that they can restrict us from whenever they feel the need to make a political point. I don’t like government having things to hold over my head, and the less things they can do that with, the better, in my opinion. I can do something about them restricting me from access to a national park, but if they control health care, I don’t know what I can do about that. It would be a much more difficult thing to protest.