A pair of local news headlines drew quite a bit of interest last week.
The first was a decision by the Union County Commissioners to place a polling precinct outside the precinct. Despite concerns from members of the public in attendance, the 2-1 vote passed and the polling place will be outside the precinct.
We reached out to the Department of State, which oversees the commonwealth’s elections, and were informed that while placing a polling place outside the precinct is not a violation, county commissioners are expected to “prioritize the selection of public buildings in the election district for which the polling place serves.”
It’s a common-sense solution, and one we hope the commissioners seek going forward.
Also in Union County, a proposed roundabout at Hospital Drive and JPM Road has raised eyebrows and prompted many questions.
One has to wonder why, and how?
If you travel anywhere outside the commonwealth — and an increasing number of locations within — roundabouts are rather common. Travel Route 15 south of here as it ventures into Maryland and Virginia, multiple roundabouts connect busy traffic patterns used by tens of thousands of vehicles from commercial to personal each and every day. Several of these roundabouts are multi-lane versions and never have I experienced confusion at these intersections.
Given the reluctance of Pennsylvania municipalities to absorb any costs associated with traffic lights, roundabouts are a safe, effective option to control traffic at busy intersections.
Distrust of media
Much has been made of misinformation over the last several years. There is a general distrust of media, but no real assignment of that distrust.
Media comes in many forms, from print to broadcast to social media.
Distrust of media is clearly stronger on the right than the left, and much of that is due to repetitive claims from media outlets that are, ironically, on the right.
It’s long been interesting to me that people are willing to listen to talking heads, whether on television or radio, and mold their own thoughts around the ideology of that member of the media. The notion that a member of the media — and columnists and cable news talking heads certain apply — is only feeding a narrative and not necessarily dabbling in any modicum of truth is... well, quite often true.
Whether you align yourself with the right or left, and you distrust the media, where does that leave you when the media is telling the truth? If you’re a Democrat and you hear the media report a truth about President Biden or Speaker Pelosi or Majority Leader Schumer, do you believe it or disregard it as misinformation or media spin?
Likewise, how many Republicans — who tend to express more distrust of media — will believe a truth reported about former President Trump or House Minority Leader McCarthy or Senate Minority Leader McConnell? Choosing which truth to believe, or outright ignore, leaves little hope for justice or a better tomorrow.
That attitude — evident on both side of the aisle — is a real danger to our democracy. The willingness to completely disregard obvious truths based solely on the messenger leaves swaths of the population either ill-informed or brainwashed.