To the editor,
“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” President Ronald Reagan’s quote has come to fruition. For the past 35 years we have taken our skepticism of government and transformed it into complete distrust and slothful apathy. The years of rhetoric from political parties, media, business, and singular interest groups have led us to believe that government is inept. This collective governing of ourselves by imperfect servants is too complicated, too immature, too power hungry and too narcissistic to solve the everyday problems of society. We have come to that day where the problems on the pile seem too high, too many to contemplate how to start to fix.
We have put every social servant in the barrel to take a lashing during this time of vitriol toward our fellow human. We’ve hated the teachers, the police, the politician, the public health worker, the inspector general; the list goes on. We don’t respect experience or expertise. We don’t just question authority; we send hate mail threatening to murder their family. We disregard facts, science, logic and reason when they don’t align with our party, our beliefs or our conspiracy theory. We not only distrust government, we have successfully destroyed the tenets that uphold a government of the people.
COVID-19 has taught me one thing as I look around the world. National governments big and small, well-funded and poor have dealt with this pandemic in many different ways. The ones that have so far come away successful have acted with transparency and investment in their social systems to help their people. Accountability, action, creative problem-solving, hard work and honesty are hallmarks of great leadership in times of crisis or peace.
I watched an open session of Rio Grande County Commissioners meeting, July 27, and hung my head in shame. Not only have we elected leadership unable or unwilling to implore any of the hallmarks above, but they’ve pushed out of the county government truly competent people through firing, forced resignation or quitting through sheer frustration. I am waiting. I am waiting to hear someone in leadership at any level; local, state or national say, “I am wrong. I got it wrong. My bad. I will fix it.
Here’s how.” I assume I will be kept waiting. We are a nation of finger pointers. As citizens, we have failed to elect capable public servants and hold our government to a standard of competence, accountability and reliability. Rio Grande County is in shambles and we have only ourselves to blame.
Kyler J. Brown