Earl Rice replied to the topic Is there too much transparency talk in Gov? in the forum Communications, Citizen Engagement, Customer Service 7 years, 8 months ago
I will cut the philosophic contemplations out on this.
I think the first part is in the title. Is there to much transparency talk in the Gov?
There’s a lot of “talk”, probably to much “talk” of the buzz word “transparency”, and it sounds good, but in reality there is very little “action” behind the “talk”.
First, what would transparency gain if anything in practical terms? That is the real question that we need to answer. So the citizens know more about what is going on in government. I ask would they? Or would they only know what the Agencies want them to know. And, if they know more, can the public even do anything with the information of any practical purpose. Are we anymore transparent than we were 5 or 10 or 50 years ago. The answer to that one is so politically charged, just as the phrase “more transparent” that I will not even wander down that perilous path riddled with booby traps, IEDs, tiger pits, land mines, etc. in this forum. The one advance I have seen is all the regulations, guidelines, and laws are in fact available on line. You just have to research the USC’s, Federal Registry, and CFR’s to find out why things are done the way they are (and have an indication when they are not). But that doesn’t mean the common citizen can find the rules, let alone understand them. And further, even if they know, other than the power of vote every 2 or 4 years, there is little else that can be done to influence how things are conducted. I was once asked why I did things the way I do. I answered because that is they way the law says I have to do them. See there’s this big domed building in DC, where the House and the Senate pass these things called bills, and then it goes from that to a little White House, where the President signs them into law. Then I do them the way the law says. I think that is pretty much the way we do everything in the Federal Government (or should be anyway).
Transparency sounds good, nice buzz word, PR people love it, sounds great at press conferences, but hard to achieve, and questionable if it should be achieved. I guess if our government was so transparent, then there wouldn’t be organizations like Judicial Watch taking the Federal Government into court over Freedom of Information Act releases. The information would be there already totally transparent. Scandals, there wouldn’t be scandals in government, because everything would already be so transparent that everyone would know before it was released.