OPINION – The President, with a little help from a heroic effort by Sen. Rand Paul and the ever active viral media, has made it clear that the White House has no authority to order drone strikes against citizens on American soil.
Relieved? Me too.
But I am also a little disconcerted. How did we come to a place where this had to even be spelled out? A fair question for another day.
The matter at hand, however, is the notion that, had the press not been vigilant in pursuing the matter, the President’s earlier statements this week implying he would authorize military strikes on American citizens, and Paul’s valiant effort to not let it stand, may have gone unnoticed by the American public.
And my question to you, friends, is: aren’t you glad you knew about it?
Of course you are.
Bringing it a little closer to home now, perhaps some of you read my column last week posing a question of ethical policies on the part of the St. George City Council and the airport-development contracts awarded to three of its officials.
The article suggested that despite there currently being local laws on the books that eradicate any conflict of interest, there still may have been ethical issues at play. Those being the necessity for elected officials to be at arms length from interested transactions and above reproach.
It went on to assert that in most of the rest of the country, and especially in more metropolitan cities, this type of behavior is not merely discouraged, but illegal and punishable by law.
It opened a dialogue here locally that perhaps was long overdue but, moreover, one that will likely become more frequent and prevalent in St. George as the city aspires to fulfill its self-professed desire to “not be a dying city” and to therefore propel perpetual growth.
But with that growth comes diversification of social and socio-economic backgrounds. For much of its impressive 150 years of existence, St. George has been a city whose predominant founding culture has operated somewhat autonomously from the rest of the country.
Ventures such as a large municipal airport, a pipeline sourced from Colorado River water, and a public university has thrust this once small, generally unnoticed town upon the national stage.
Add to this the growing diversification and it was but a matter of time before the standard operating modality for leadership and its expectations of its citizenry would begin to be questioned.
Welcome to growth St. George.
A town which once had only one newspaper is now seeing the positive outcomes that a competitive news source brings.
But furthermore, it is seeing the byproduct of a consensus journalism presence contrasted by competition with conflict journalism.
Consensus journalism encourages social and economic harmony where everybody generally agrees, while conflict journalism presents information in a way that challenges and scrutinizes things inviting the reader to engage in its community socially and politically.
The end product, ideally, is something like what happened to the President on the drone strike issue. He got hammered by Paul, he got hammered by the press, and subsequently he got hammered by the people; and – quite possibly – changed course for the better of the American people.
Would you not like to see that locally?
What would you think of a candidate for St. George City Council or mayor who ran on a platform of reforming laws that currently make it legal for elected officials to bid on public projects which were initially awarded by or in part by their own votes?
Would that be something you would think was good for the people of St. George as well as their confidence in their local government?
Think about it.
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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