From the Print Edition: Why Everything Matters!

March 23, 2012

Columbus, MS, Mississippi, MS, Politics

In a world where it’s okay to slander the poor and the “innocent until proven” guilty, the question remains: why does the government get a free pass?  There are no mug shots of the corporate/government officials who steal from the taxpayers and neglect their duties as a public servant. There are no “Most Wanted” pictures of government officials who run up debt then run out of town, leaving you, the tax payer, holding the bills.

Nope, but have your girlfriend call the PD on you and you’re on the front page of the paper bent over  “the ol’ squad car”, with that “I am not having a good day” look on your face.  And, that it is the state of media in “THE USA TODAY” (all due respect to Hank, Jr.)

We are tantalized by the “public stockade” mentality that beats down the poor, the disenfranchised and the unfortunate.  We love to shame the underprivileged.  It makes us feel better about ourselves.

But, what about the government – those people who are elected and hired to protect, serve and answer to the community? They should have an active watchdog on them every day.  No questions asked.

And, the media plays that role everyday.  It is the only reason that the media exists.  Plain and simple.  No other reason!

We are the “Watchdogs.”  The community owes it to themselves to stand up and be counted.  There should be a “no B.S.” directive toward the government, from the media and citizens.  No holds barred. We, the media, are not, never should be, and never will be a friend of the government.

Almost every important “newsmaker” in our community, in one way or another, makes their living off the tax payers’ sweat.  So, none of them are doing anyone a favor, when they do their job.  As a matter of fact, it should be expected.

The City of Columbus has either officially or unofficially enacted a “don’t talk to the media” mantra to their employees.  That’s okay, McQueen and Smith.  The Real Story has three words for both of you – Open Records Request – and you have seven business days in which to respond.  And, oh by the way, lie about or withhold anything requested in that paperwork and we will be at the Attorney Generals office quicker than you can say, “Who, me? What do I know about paving parking lots?”

Game time is over.  The reality is The Real Story is no longer on the Columbus Police Department’s Public Information Officer list.  We have not been sent anything from the department in a few weeks.  The paper will live. The walls still talk.

So, Columbus public officials – don’t get your feelings hurt when we don’t call you first, before we do a story.  At The Real Story, the tail doesn’t wag the dog.  We will write the story, regardless.

Every organization that you read about daily – whether it is The LINK, the County, the City of Columbus, the CCVB, CMSD and all the other organizations – are funded by taxpayers’ money.  These organizations have a legal obligation to share how they spend taxpayers’ money. They are not being nice or polite, if they share this information.

In fairness, the County does seem to have a more open policy and meetings are run more efficiently.  There are usually several meetings after the official meeting to clear up issues with the media and citizens.  And, this adds an additional amount of order to the gathering.

However, the question will always remain, “Should you trust your local government?”

Woodrow Wilson said, “Liberty has never come from the government.  Liberty has always come from the subjects of it.  The history of liberty is a history of resistance.”

It may sound extreme, but we should not let local government move forward without its every move being questioned.  It is not okay to relax and let everything be.  We have a school system and a city that are in financial crisis, and we have to hold people accountable and keep people’s feet to the fire to correct the problem.

We also need to support the people who have to make the tough decisions and make their organizations fiscally sound.  You can’t work toward financial stability and not have to make tough choices.  In both the City of Columbus and the CMSD, the checks are due.  Now, it’s time to pay the piper.  The School district is trying.  Let’s see what happens at this year’s City budget planning meeting.  It should be interesting.

In the end, the government works for its citizens, but somehow many leaders forget this concept and think they are above the citizens and, in some cases, above the law.  At The Real Story, we have made the commitment to stay true to the cause of watching the leaders.

An incompetent elected leader is as dangerous to you as a petty crook.  Using your position for personal benefit is as illegal as being a crack dealer. Let’s show the same consistency in worrying about our leaders, as we do some minor thief.  I know we are, at The Real Story.

As the great Bob Dylan sang, “Steal a little and they throw you in jail.  Steal a lot and they make you king.”

Joseph B. St. John

Mr. MoJo Rising


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About The Real Story

The Real Story for the Golden Triangle and North Mississippi. Always the truth... No Compromise. Changing the community one story at a time! You make the news... We keep it Real.

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One Comment on “From the Print Edition: Why Everything Matters!”

  1. charles divel Says:

    Government is not intended to make a profit. Somehow they sure can waste money, including collecting their salary they do not earn.


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