Friday, September 18, 2009

Councilor Keach's interesting column

City Councilor Fred Keach has an interesting My Turn column in the Monitor this morning: ["These days, we're all public figures"].
He raises some interesting points especially when considering that news has become a 24-hour cycle. Most folks are not given the chance to even digest the previous news cycle before they are bombarded with another one and another one, etc. In addition, the distraction of the trivial, i.e., all the celebrity bullsh*t, keeps the American people from focusing on the important issues of the day, whether local, regional, national, or international in scope.
Add in the divisiveness of the current political climate [or actually the political climate of the last two decades], and the mix becomes a big mess. Further, throw in mistrust of the media, as seen in the latest Pew survey: ["Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low"] and it is clear that the nation and the news business are in peril.
Without thoughtful contemplation, most people don't get at the truth or are not allowed the opportunity to think through what "truth" is. We've seen that in our own community, state, and country. Most people are a mix of opinions but sometimes the loudest and the easiest are the ones who get covered.
The reverse thinking though is that Keach and others need to get used to the new reality. So do news customers. Everything is out there, whether good or bad. A lot of it is by choosing.
Take facebook. I, frankly, love it. It's fun. Sure, some of it is silly. But who has time for letters anymore? I hear from faraway family members, former school classmates, old friends, new acquaintances, etc., at the click of a button. I meet their families and children in a matter of seconds. I feel their pain and sorrow and share in their successes.
In addition, as a councilor, Keach is a public figure, in this case an elected official. People demand, require, whatever, a higher set of standards from these individuals and swift action when needed. He notes that "School boards and other public officials come under enormous pressure to take action sooner then later, often at the expense of the accused." This may be true but let's look at why the public is demanding such action.
More often than not, government officials drag their heels taking action against people who have no business being in positions of power. Everyone has a horror story about someone in a position of power for a long period of time with accusations against them that go unanswered for months or even years.
Look at the recent revelation of a local police officer who was alleged to have harassed some women and even skipped out of paying a tab at a local bar. It took months and months to resolve this issue while at the same time, the officer was still on the street, I believe, demanding that citizens obey the laws [and civic responsibilities] he was not obeying himself.
There is also the recent case, noted here extensively but ignored elsewhere, of an elected official who used her power to have a local citizen investigated by the police for having a public document, a document that proved that others were not being forthcoming or completely honest during city council committee hearings. And yet, when the citizen who was investigated requested that the police investigate the elected official and a former elected official for their transgressions in the case, the request for action was ignored. The police chief actual stated that since the city council controlled his budget, he could not investigate a sitting city councilor! Think about that for a second. Yup, that's going on in Concord folks. It is often one rule for them, another for us, as the saying goes.
Add to that the fact that this citizen's request for inquiry was ignored on many different enforcement levels even though he had overwhelming evidence that all was not right in this case and you begin to realize that all is not right with the world.
I'm glad that Keach wrote the column. These issues are clearly ones that the community, state, and nation need to have. After all, we are citizens and we are human beings. But let's make sure that when we have these conversations, they are not in a 20 minute newscast but instead, over a period of time, so that everyone can have their say in the matter.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

There is a serious problem with trust in this country, and good reason for it. The media covers whatever will advance an agenda that they want to push. They send out their opinions as news and simply refuse to cover certain things. I could spend all day giving examples. Some of them include the MSNBC morning show that showed a man carrying an AR-15 rifle to an health care protest in Arizona. The woman on the news talked about the racial undertones of the protest. The footage was so cut up that you couldn't see that the man was black. The tea partiers are called "tea baggers" (which happens to be a slang term for a sexual act). The media almost refuses to cover the 9/12 protest in Washington even though by some accounts there are 1 million people or more there. They call the protesters agitators even though there is no trash to pick up and not a single arrest. Don't forget how the media calls the people who are against a government health care program racists and nazi's. I'm not a racist, I'm certainly not a Nazi.

The police is another matter. Please don't acuse me of being a police basher. I'm a former Marine Sergeant and a volunteer firefighter. There is a very good reason people don't trust the police, and even fear them. You can watch days worth of videos on youtube where police shoot, beat, lie, slander, blackmail, frame, and even murder people. Even here in Concord, there is a serious double standard. We have the issues mentioned, an officer not paying his tab who still has his job, the chief not investigating people because they're in charge of his budget. Then the incident last year where Concord officers trespass on private property, decide it's a good place to perform a training excersize and then someone gets shot (thank God no one got seriously injured). We expect there to be an investigation and possible punishment. All of the officers involved still have their jobs and we will never know if there was a punishment. If I had done the same thing, my friends and I would be getting prosecuted for discharging a firearm in a compact area, tresspassing, assault, reckless endangerment, and whatever the prosecutor could pin on us. We would be felons and go to jail and loose all kinds of rights. How is it that this double standard exists. How do we fix it?!