So what if school officials deceive reporters about whether they are going to hand out big raises? Who cares if a bureaucrat skirts a few laws to provide more trash pickups — or if open meetings and open records laws are violated? Why whine all the time about what seems to be frivolous and unfocused government spending?
It’s a question almost identical to one this paper’s Ol’ Editor tried to answer 25 years ago this week in this very space. It’s not that being flippantly cantankerous runs in the Ol’ Editor’s family. It was no skin off his nose — or mine — what a superintendent gets paid, how many times trash gets picked up, or whether government has its act together and follows the law.
Rather, it comes with the job. Newspapers have a duty to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Throughout this paper, we try our best to handle both those duties in equal measure.
Whether my cat launches into attack mode, threatening the stability of every piece of furniture in the house when a locust flies through an open patio door and into a floor lamp, buzzing all the way to its frying death, is something I can’t do anything about.
Actions taken by government should never be something any of us feels we can’t do anything about.
None of this is personal. If I wanted to complain, I’d complain about having to pick up 12 spent fireworks shells from a small backyard where none were shot. But I get as much a bang out of July 4 fireworks as the next guy, and as long as no fires are started, a little neighborly cleanup isn’t too big a price to pay.
The price too big to pay would be for this newspaper to abandon its responsibility to the public to keep government on its toes. Life in Marion County is good, but it isn’t yet great. Part of the reason is that we haven’t always felt, as a community, that government answers to us, not the other way around.
If that makes me out to be mean-spirited, so be it. My cat probably didn’t like being corralled before launching herself into a floor lamp, either, but providing that service was my responsibility, too.
— ERIC MEYER