Another stoplight on Main Streetis the speed limit obsolete?
Commentary by PAT MURPHY
Raise your hand if you believe traffic moves better in Ketchum now that
Main Street has four traffic lights within six blocks.
This much is certain: Police should have no fear of speeders on Main
Traffic moves so slowand logjams are so frequent with the new
signalsits near impossible for drivers to even get up to the speed limit.
Although the "family values" movement attracts largely decent,
well-meaning advocates of moral lifestyles, its ranks also have been invaded by
holier-than-thou characters and charlatans whose hypocrisy is so flagrant that its a
wonder God hasnt struck them dead with lightning.
Among them was the "family values" Republican Speaker of the
House, Newt Gingrich, who moralized stridently about Bill Clintons trashy behavior
with Monica Lewinskyeven as he was carrying on with an office staffer behind his
wife Mariannes back.
Not to be forgotten are Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who swindled followers
while he also had an adulterous fling with Jessica Hahn. And who can forget the
blubbering, weeping televangelist, Jim Swaggert, caught on video checking into a cheap New
Orleans motel with a hooker?
My perpetual favorite do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrite is an Arizona
state legislator, Rep. Karen Johnson, who constantly lectures about "family
values"although shes divorced several times and has married five times.
So, I cant bring myself to weep for the sudden closing of the Idaho
Family Forum, a political busybody pressure group steeped in religious goodness and
presuming to define the moral code by which we all should live.
Family Forums shutdown is all very mysterious, although cynics say
itll return, reincarnated perhaps with a new name.
Its possible, however, that Family Forum and like-minded groups may
not be needed if the Bush-Cheney ticket wins in November, Republicans maintain control of
Congress and together they live up to their promises.
Republicans have vowed to impose a new super morality on the nation, with
a more prominent role for religion and Puritanism in every walk of American life.
After the Idaho state Supreme Court chastised some Boise politicians a few
weeks ago about talking with interested parties about pending official business outside
government chambers, I remembered something said by the late, longtime mayor of
Scottsdale, Ariz., Herb Drinkwater.
"Never trust a politician whos not listed in the phone
Drinkwaters point was that politicians need to be fully accessible
to the public, even to the point of being telephoned at home night and day.
That sort of attitude kept Drinkwater in office for nearly 20 years until
he retired because of rampaging cancer that later took his life.
Had he stiffly refused to talk pending public business in casual
conversation with voters, as preferred by the Idaho high courts majority to avoid
any hint of hank-panky, Drinkwater would never have survived politically.
Honest officials wont use ad hoc chats to cheat, and dishonest
officials up to hanky-panky wont be restrained by rules of when and where they could
discuss public business.
Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the
Arizona Republic and a former radio commentator.