Editorial writer Shawn Day’s column in Sunday’s paper returned to a theme that I often espouse, beginning with the very first column I wrote for the paper. Day focused on the poll results provided by the Pew Research Center on the SCOTUS healthcare ruling, in particular, the 45% of folks who “say either that the court rejected most provisions (15%) or do not know what the court did (30%).”
No doubt each of us knows someone who didn’t understand what happened with the ruling. I got a phone call from a niece of mine, asking me to explain it. (At least she realized what she didn’t know.) But in this day of information, it can be difficult to understand why folks simply don’t take the time to look at it.
The old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make t drink,” applies. And that’s what allows politicians to say whatever they want – true or not – with little fear of being caught. It’s what allows outright lies to be passed from person to person, because no one stops to check. And it gives electeds unfettered ability to pretty much do whatever they want, because the public simply isn’t paying attention.
Which brings me to the privatization of the Port of Virginia. Oh, forget the “public” part of the “public-private partnership” deal. What’s happening is that one of our state’s most prized assets is about to be sold (ok, leased for a really, really long time) to a private operator.
We’ve seen this play before, most recently with the implementation of tolls on the tunnels in our area. We also are seeing it locally, as both Norfolk and Virginia Beach take on new zoning plans. The honchos get together, decide what they want to do, and then present it as a fait accompli to the public. Why bother engaging the public? Not only is that messy – gee, you actually have to spend some time informing them of the issues – but it just delays the inevitable.
I think we have more information available but are less informed than ever, partially because we don’t look at what’s out there and partially because those who are supposed to be looking out for our interests stonewall us.
Wish there was a way to make the horse drink.