This song is to remind people that there was a time when people on the conservative end of the spectrum in the United States had leanings that tended towards conservationism and even environmentalism. Listen to McCall's1 sadness when he says "It was only a matter of time" as he contemplates the exploitation and eventual destruction of Glenwood Canyon. He knows that a beautiful and unspoiled place is inevitably going to be overwhelmed by the demands of humanity, and knows there is nothing he can do to stop it.
Once upon a time, conservatives in the government made it a priority to protect and preserve the national heritage for future generations. Many conservatives held the notion that maybe squeezing the last dollar of profit out of the land wasn't the greatest idea if it meant that the land would be a polluted wasteland afterward. They espoused the idea that we could have both clean air and clean water and, when properly regulated, business could continue to prosper without destroying the natural world around us. Somewhere along the way, this strain of conservatism seems to have fallen away, leaving behind only the aggressively pro-business conservatism that we have now.
Once upon a time, Ulysses Grant created the first national park to preserve the natural wonders of the United States. Once upon a time, Nixon created the EPA to clean up the air and water of the country. But now, with the current conservative movement, it is only a matter of time.
1 C.W. McCall was actually an invented persona created for an ad campaign for Old Home Bread from the Metz Baking Company. The voice is that of Bill Fries, who did all the singing and voice work for McCall.
C.W. McCall Musical Monday Home