Thurs­day’s thumbs

A re­view of re­cent ups and downs

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

It’s Thurs­day and it might be fair to ac­cuse us of be­ing all thumbs. Why not? Here are a few: For elected of­fi­cials, it can be tough and, some­times, down­right un­com­fort­able to ask con­stituents to speak up about what they want in gov- ern­ment. Con­stituents don’t al­ways fully ap­pre­ci­ate the com­plex­i­ties in­volved with bud­get lim­i­ta­tions, the com­pet­ing in­ter­ests of con­stituent wishes or the le­gal re­stric­tions that in­flu­ence de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Not that elected of­fi­cials need sym­pa­thy — they asked for their role. But those fac­tors can dis­cour­age them from pro­mot­ing open ex­changes with the pub­lic.

That’s why it’s im­pres­sive that Ben­ton County Judge Barry Moehring has sched­uled town hall-style meet­ings — the first was in Gen­try Mon­day night — to field ques­tions and hear what county res­i­dents have to say to their county rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Other town halls are set Mon­day in Sul­phur Springs, Aug. 7 in Rogers and Aug. 21 in Garfield.

Moehring is in his first year at the helm of county gov­ern­ment, so some might as­sume it’s nat­u­ral he’d be en­thu­si­as­tic about hear­ing from res­i­dents as he con­tin­ues for­mu­lat­ing plans for the fu­ture. But let’s not pre­tend ev­ery first-year county judge is so in­ter­ested. Moehring de­serves credit for cre­at­ing a mech­a­nism to specif­i­cally in­vite res­i­dents to get en­gaged in dis­cus­sion about what county gov­ern­ment ought to be do­ing.

Will ev­ery town hall meet­ing draw the 45 or 50 peo­ple last Mon­day’s meet­ing did? Maybe not, but there’s value in the process even if five peo­ple show up.

Plenty of peo­ple com­plain that gov­ern­ment doesn’t lis­ten. In Ben­ton County, that can’t be said of Moehring. It’s up to res­i­dents to speak up if they want to be heard.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to know whether Pres­i­dent Trump is us­ing im­petu­ous tweet­ing with­out thought or care as to the im­pact or if his use of so­cial me­dia is a cal­cu­lated, al­most-daily ef­fort he be­lieves will help achieve his goals, but this we know: It’s di­min­ish­ing hope for those who want him to be an ef­fec­tive pres­i­dent.

What the Amer­i­can peo­ple get when Trump en­gages in his un­fil­tered tweets is an im­age of a petu­lant child. Sure, peo­ple elected him be­cause of a cer­tain ir­rev­er­ence and un­con­ven­tion­al­ism, but at some point, he has to play well with oth­ers. Where’s the master ne­go­tia­tor, the man who sold him­self as the only one who could get this coun­try on the right track? No­body will find that guy in Trump’s tweets.

The na­tion needs a se­ri­ous prob­lem-solver in the White House. It seems even those who counted a de­feat of Hil­lary Clin­ton as the chief goal have to be dis­ap­pointed that the man in charge ap­pears to be his own worst en­emy.

Trump, who vis­ited the Boy Scouts’ Na­tional Jam­boree the other day and gave a pu­trid speech, would do well if he sim­ply tried to live up to the Scout Oath, on his honor, to do his best to do his duty to God and coun­try, to help other peo­ple at all times and to keep him­self phys­i­cally strong, men­tally awake and morally straight.

The schools of the Arkansas Ac­tiv­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion will vote Mon­day on a plan de­signed to im­prove its clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem as they try to bal­ance the com­pet­i­tive needs of school teams with the limited time and re­sources that in­flu­ence how far teams should be trav­el­ing for con­tests. It seems the as­so­ci­a­tion is con­stantly shift­ing its sys­tem, and that’s be­cause there are no easy an­swers to the var­ied in­ter­ests of big, heav­ily pop­u­lated schools and smaller schools with com­par­a­tively tiny pop­u­la­tions. Mon­day’s pro­posal seems it’s a step in the right di­rec­tion, but don’t ex­pect ev­ery­one to be happy with it.

Gov. Asa Hutchin­son has filled two re­cent va­can­cies on the quo­rum courts in Ben­ton and Wash­ing­ton coun­ties. Fred Rausch, 59, of Spring­dale will serve out a term in Wash­ing­ton County and Mike Jef­f­coat of Rogers will take the oath of of­fice tonight in Ben­ton County. We wish these gen­tle­men well in their ef­forts to serve the peo­ple of their dis­tricts and coun­ties and com­mend them for their will­ing­ness to serve. As they get up to speed on county is­sues, we have a read­ing rec­om­men­da­tion: The Arkansas Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Hand­book. (http://www.arkansas­press.org/?page=foi­hand­book)

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