letter to The Herald Bulletin

We should heed James Madison’s advice

Ronald Jones’ letter (Reservoir promotion has circus approach, July 24, 2014) spotlighted the hype which has characterized the promotion of the planned dam by the Madison County Corporation for Economic Development and its executive director.

The promotion has heavily emphasized, if not contrived, the potential positive results and deftly avoided public discussion of any problematic aspects.

One of James Madison’s better known quotes pertains to the power of knowledge: “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

This quote is often used by both news organizations and citizens’ groups in reference to the publics’ right to know and to access to public records and open public meetings.

In a similar vein, citizens should use knowledge, acquired from independent sources, to critically evaluate the claims and the omissions of the dam’s professional promoters. Investigative journalism can also play an important role in exploring independent sources to obtain and report pertinent facts.

As noted in Black’s Law Dictionary, “Truth which is not sufficiently defended is overpowered; and he who does not disapprove, approves”. Considering the substantial private financial interests which are pushing the dam plan and downplaying its many negative effects, it will be critical that there be an informed critique and vigorous rebuttal of dubious claims. “We the People”, in Madison and other Indiana counties, should be leading that effort.

Clarke Kahlo

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