The wealth of Polk County

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We now have two independents in the race for the Polk County Board of Commissioners.

We understand, on a national level. Our interest in partisanship has certainly waned. Crystal clear issues, such as the need to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, are reportedly insoluable, not because the nation does not see the need, but because two teams seem only to be interested in fighting for supremacy. Any politician who does not offer a plan to work across any aisle to address our most pressing issues, damn his re-election chances, should be thrown out and replaced with one who will.

Here at home, however, the issue at hand is not bi-partisanship. It is the Democrats who swept the county board, and who are now falling out with one another, with two leaving to run independent campaigns.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The issue is trust, the real national deficit. In announcing his move, Warren Watson cited corruption in both parties at all levels. That charge has elicited quite an outrage from his former Polk Democrat compatriots.

Certainly, we recognize that human nature is fraught with all sorts of corruptions, and to the degree our system of government can contain these, the better. But to do so we must have the courage to give specific examples and suggestions for corrective action. Anything less only feeds the corrosive cynicism wafting through the air these days.

The columnist David Brooks points out that the wealth of nations like small counties is built upon trust. In poorer countries, most wealth is tangible land, resources. In richer nations, 80 percent of the wealth is intangible institutions, laws and attitudes. Our most precious resources are all built on trust, a fragile thing.

We must ask even our own, small fry politicians, to build our county upon firm truth, so we may trust, and please not to use vague accusations that play in an election, but undermine our lives and futures together. JB