Transparency is gaining steam in conversations across the nation. The Lexington Herald-Leader published an editorial calling for more transparency at the state level, even encouraging “push back” when lawmakers say “trust us.”
Given that people in power must pass laws to reduce their own power by opening up government, transparency advances come most often in reaction to disruptive events, like the Watergate scandal, that reveal the dark downside of secrecy. It was post-Watergate that the federal government and many states, including Kentucky, passed or enhanced open records and meetings laws.
The Founders had lived under the thumb of a British government that controlled information, licensed newspapers and sometimes decided in advance what they could publish. They knew that tyranny thrives without a free press and citizenry to investigate, question, even villify the government.
When government officials, no matter how popular, say “trust me,” it’s time to push back.
Information is power, just like the editorial claims. Kentuckians deserve that power.