Transparency not a matter of convenience

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 26, 2013

Transparency is a word that gets tossed around in government with relative frequency.
Every politician touts transparency, but on closer inspection most of these politicians only believe in it when the facts are beneficial to his or her agenda. Other facts they try to sweep under the rug, a practice that more often than not comes back to bite them in the end. In this age of information overload, nearly everything comes out eventually.
When Gov. Bobby Jindal won the governor’s race in 2007, he did so largely on a platform of transparency. And indeed, he did initiate sweeping ethical reforms in Louisiana politics during the beginning of his first term. Closer inspection, however, revealed this new transparency was rarely applied to him or his administration.
Unfortunately, this has become the norm in modern politics. Many politicians now become belligerent at any questions that may cast their political babies in anything less than the most flattering light. Modern politics has become a game of always being right rather than doing what is best for one’s constituents.
Probably no one expected the recent rollout of the Affordable Care Act to go completely smoothly. It was a massive undertaking, and setbacks are to be expected. By telling the nation, however, that everything was great aside from some minor website glitches, President Barack Obama not only partially hid the truth, but he also lessened the credibility of the entire endeavor.
This stretches across all strata
of government from the local to
the national, but the effect is always the same — the erosion of trust between politician and constituent.
The truth will always come out. The public’s reaction to it, however, is often dependent on how long it was held back.