-By Warner Todd Huston
The new Miss America Pageant winner, Cornhusker Teresa Scanlan, wowed judges with her black bikini, her piano playing, and her silky blond hair. She’s the youngest winner ever at 17, her theme this year was eating disorders, and she also criticized WikiLeaks as “espionage.”
Scanlon said that she wanted to become a lawyer because she wanted to help change the negative perception that people have of lawyers.
“At this point, attorneys and politicians are looked down on and have terrible reputations for being greedy and power hungry and I really think it’s important for people who have their heart and mind in the right place get into those powerful positions,” she said to the media.
But what was really interesting is what she said of the WikiLeaks.
“You know when it came to that situation, it was actually based on espionage, and when it comes to the security of our nation, we have to focus on security first and then people’s right to know, because it’s so important that everybody who’s in our borders is safe and so we can’t let things like that happen, and they must be handled properly,” she said.
I bit inarticulate and a tad too simplistic, but point taken. Still, the job of a legitimate U.S. government is to carefully balance the “right to know” with safety and security. The WikiLeaks were definitely a form of espionage, to be sure, but Americans do have a right to know what is going on in their government.
I think we are good enough and adult enough to focus on both security and government transparency at the same time. In fact, I think we must focus on both simultaneously. These are the hard decisions that we expect our government to make.
It isn’t a matter of either transparency or safety. It cannot be strictly an either/or proposition. Life is far more complicated than that.
Still, I have to say Miss Scanlan is at least patriotic enough to consider our national security and feel it is an important thing for the government to undertake. That’s more than many her age can claim.