Beyond politics

By JEFF INGLIS  |  March 6, 2014

1) Ask candidates for electoral office (at all levels) hard questions about specific issues, rather than allowing the candidates themselves to set the discussion agenda — thereby neatly avoiding any controversial issues or having to actually take positions on important questions of the day.
2) Allow politicians to change their minds. But don’t let them pretend they didn’t, nor that their new position is functionally the same as the old one. People grow, learn, and change. Expecting people to hold the exact same positions and beliefs forever in effect demands that people remain as misguided and unenlightened tomorrow as they were yesterday. But, when public figures change their minds, they should be able to, and asked to, explain why and how that happened.
3) Lastly — and this is to everyone, whether you work in the media or not — remember that government works for us. We own the desks and filing cabinets in City Hall and the State House, and the documents stored in them. We own the computers and the servers in government offices, and the information stored on them. If a government official wishes to keep something secret, she must prove that she is legally allowed to do so. The burden is not on us as the public to force openness on government, but on government — and its (our) workers — to lay themselves and their records open in exchange for the privilege of serving with the public trust.

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