Lance Scranton: Who’s watching?
The most enduring characteristic of our republic is how much accountability is built into the system. When a politician takes advantage of voters by lying, cheating, or becoming something constituents don’t recognize, the ballot box will have a powerful voice. The accountability in our system of checks and balances helps others to know about what, exactly, is going on at most levels of our government.
But, there is a catch: Accountability measures only work if we have a strong, healthy system of people and organizations who are able to ensure the actions of those in positions of influence are held up to the light of day. It goes without saying we should make politicians accountable, but without a free press, it would be impossible. These days, you have to wade through so much garbage to get at the real news, but it’s imperative for each of us to filter out the sideshows and get the information, or our democracy is in jeopardy.
Imagine if we didn’t have a local newspaper that reported on the meetings and actions taken by our local politicians? It would be much easier to take advantage of the people, because they wouldn’t be as informed. Each time you read about decisions made by various agencies around town, our city council, and the county commissioners, remember how the reported information ensures that accountability is taking place and that each of us is informed.
School ramps up this week, and it is just as important that teachers and administrators who serve our community are held accountable for the decisions they make with regard to a publicly funded system. Our local school board maintains a working relationship with the school superintendent to make certain that the investment we make in our schools is being handled with care.
Sometimes, it’s easier to read all the gossip and buy into the thinking that we have little control over what happens in our community and the country. Take a look around, exercise your better judgment, become aware of how things are being done, and get involved. A healthy skepticism toward those who make decisions is good for our democracy, and we all have a responsibility to be looking out for each other.
Remember to thank those who offer their time and talents to keep us informed and represent our interests, and are taking up the task of watching out for us. We may not all agree on how certain things should be handled, but imagine how it might be if we had no information about the decisions being made.
So, who’s watching? Well, shouldn’t we all be?
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.