President Donald Trump was in a festive mood.

“Let me say it to everyone here today and across the country: Merry Christmas to everybody.”

And, doing his best Grinch impression, he shoved two national monuments up the chimney and took them away in his sleigh.

Outside, a few hundred monument supporters, forced to stay behind metal barriers erected around the state Capitol, chanted and held signs blasting Trump, calling the move a “monumental mistake” and making futile demands that Trump keep his “tiny hands off our public lands.”

Inside, Trump supporters offered up standing ovations and cheered. One chanted “four more years,” as Trump was preparing to sign the two proclamations that wiped out protections for about two million acres of the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

“This is better than Christmas,” said San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams, who was sporting a “Make San Juan County Great Again” cowboy hat freshly signed by Trump. Adams said the county wanted Bears Ears wiped out altogether, but they can live with the roughly 200,000 acres Trump left intact.

The next move, said Adams and other Utah leaders, is rewriting the Antiquities Act that has given presidents since Teddy Roosevelt the power to create monuments and Trump now argues gives him the power to destroy them.

Trump said that, with his proclamations Monday, “Public lands will once again be for public use.”

But they do a lot more than that. The revised Grand Staircase boundaries open up potential mining for much of the estimated 62 billion tons of coal, a third of it recoverable, on the Kaiparowits Plateau. In 60 days, previously protected areas in both monuments will be open to new oil and gas claims. And roads in Grand Staircase, closed for two decades to protect sensitive resources, could be re-opened.

The entire saga of the monuments points to larger problems in our system of government, which is fundamentally broken — perhaps irreparably.

A few years ago, maybe there was hope for some common ground, back when Rep. Rob Bishop was embarking on his Public Lands Initiative, aimed at solving land disputes across huge swaths of the state, including the Bears Ears region.

But the PLI wasn’t about compromise, it was about crushing opposition to Bishop’s lands agenda, and the congressman was unable to even get a vote for his grand plan in a House controlled by his own party.

With Congress once again incapable of action, President Barack Obama did what he had promised all along he would do, and designated the Bears Ears Monument before he left office.

That unilateral exercise prompted Trump’s visit to Utah on Monday, where the president flipped the Antiquities Act on its head by wiping out nearly 90 percent of Bears Ears — a move that has never been tested in court — and then going about a thousand steps farther and trying to get rid of half of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Grand Staircase is a monument that has been in place for more than two decades. Members of Utah’s delegation have tried and failed to repeal it. Not only that, Congress has repeatedly adjusted its boundaries, swapped out land and generally ratified the boundaries as they existed until Monday.

Of course the American Indian tribes and the environmental groups will go to court to challenge the action. So Trump’s lofty rhetoric about listening to the locals doesn’t matter in the slightest.

The residents of San Juan County get ping-ponged back-and-forth and the years of hard work by the tribes to establish Bears Ears goes by the wayside.

Now the only opinions that matter are those of the federal judges who will hear the cases.

Meantime, as the cases slog through court, the worst outcome of all is that the tens of thousands of priceless artifacts and irreplaceable ruins in Bears Ears will be without the protection they deserve and everyone — including monument opponents — say they should have.

It’s madness.

And it’s not limited to monuments and public lands. Take the “Dreamers” — those kids who were brought to this country by their parents who are here illegally. Congress has been talking (and talking and talking) about a compassionate solution to their situation for more than a decade, but has never come close to actually doing its job and fixing it.

So Obama uses executive authority to create a program — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — and Trump turns around and uses his executive authority to undo it, setting the stage for deportations. And, assuming Congress doesn’t act — and there’s no reason on earth to think it will — the issue will end up in court.

The same pattern plays out over and over again in our dysfunctional Washington.

“This is how Washington wants it,” says Boyd Matheson, president of the conservative Sutherland Institute, which was an outspoken opponent of the monuments. “As long as Washington convinces us we’re too divided … it gives Congress an excuse to do nothing, it gives the president of either party an excuse to do whatever he wants with a pen, and that’s the problem.”

The solution, I believe, is to act as citizens first and ignore partisan allegiances. The question has to become, “What have you done for us?” and not, “What have you done for your party?” And when our members refuse to respond, we vote them out, because if we can’t fix Congress, then nobody can.

Correction: Dec. 5, 9:41 a.m. >> An earlier version of this story misstated the amount of coal estimated to be available in the Grand-Staircase National Monument.