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Government takes work, maintenance

I believe in government.

I know, I know. Among a certain set of the populace that is not a popular sentiment these days.

“Cut, cut, cut” has been the mantra driving political discourse in regard to government for the past 40 years or so.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a tax-and-spend “liberal.”

I just believe government, particularly the form of democracy upon which the United States is based, which is a great system, with the mission as described in the preamble to the Constitution to “establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Granted, our government, from local to state and national levels, has gotten bloated in many respects from the core mission and that bloat can have repercussions on the efficiency of other parts of the system.

Our system, like any system — whether a computer operating system or the gutter system on your house — requires regular maintenance and attention to detail in order to function properly.

If all issues are fully debated, discussed and studied and people pay attention to the issues and actions of government, then they will hopefully make the right decisions at the polling place on Election Day.

The answer to problems in government, I have learned, is never as simple as “cut, cut, cut,” or “tax, tax, tax.”

Those are knee-jerk reactions to governmental problems, and the answer usually lies somewhere in the gray space in between that often becomes white noise in the public debate.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell has proposed a series of forums with recognized experts from the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University to explore ways for local government to operate more efficiently.

The forums will include discussion of consolidating city and county government operations.

Such discussions are the kind of maintenance government needs in order to operate efficiently, and I applaud Grennell for making the proposal.

The other part of that equation is for citizens to get involved, attend the meetings and to pay attention to the issues.

After a good public airing and discussion of the issues, hopefully, we will emerge a stronger community.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.

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