The debate about the actions in Knox County's commission to fill offices as demanded by court rulings on the county's charter has raised a most important question.
No Silence Here featured my post on the call for new elections in Knox County, and a commenter there left the following statement:
"I don't believe the word "Ethics" and "Government" can co-exist.
Shameful stunts have been going on around here for more than a decade, and until now, went completely unnoticed.
Term limits was the one thing done right by this county. I doubt there is another county in this state where incumbents wield the kinda of power they do here. It's always been a club"
I'll bet cash money that we could find residents of any county in the nation expressing that very thought - that their county is rife with abuse of power. But that does not mean problems should be accepted as "the norm."
Part of the reason is that too much power in too few hands. And it appears to be far too common to me, as opposed to being just a problem in one county or another. Conflicts, bribery charges, ethics violations, and charges against officials from Tennessee to Washington DC have been prominent in the news.
Rules and regulations and even oversight of those rules and regulations certainly can and do exist. But who enforces these tenets?
Voters and non-voters alike must apply diligence and oversight themselves to both indentify problems and demand solutions. Likewise, a responsible press must be vigilant as well and rely far more on their own skills and duties rather than on the press releases and announcements for information.
The phrase "investigative journalism" implies there is a form of journalism that does not "investigate" the topics being reported. That, my friends, is called PR and isn't journalism at all.
Thanks to a vigorous and vital debate now available via blogs and web-writers, the local and national press must work harder than ever. That's a good thing. An active community demanding more ethical government behavior is the best way to accomplish that we have a presence of Ethics in the governmental process.