Political Silly Season: Beating The Wrong Horse

As we enter the traditional election-year silly season today’s guest columnist, a non-fed reader, urged Democrats and Republicans to resist the urge to play whack-a-mole with “bureaucrats’ and concentrate on the real issues and problems facing the country.  Here goes:

In the next few months (I wish it were only days), the political long knives that love to toy and attack governmental employees will be out en masse.

All of America will hear how terrible government is, how all of its employees do nothing everyday but look at certain types of “information” online, and in short are all worthless spenders of hard working American’s taxpayer dollars.

While I will not argue, as will most, that there are ways to improve the efficiency of governmental spending and its workforce, I truly believe government employees get an often undeserved bad rap by those who attack them; who probably haven’t taken the time to understand what governmental workers do, what they have to put up with and the role that they play in making our country a better  place to live, so that we can all collectively reach our dreams for the success of our families and communities.

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Let’s face it: it is much easier to attack anyone or anything when someone has no knowledge of what they are talking about.  Smirks, innuendo, perceptions, qualified questions and answers, and yes, even untruths or just mini-lies,  will be all over traditional, electronic and social media during the next few months of our election as November comes closer.  My guess is that some of those attacks will be on government professionals, duh.

But, I for one, have a tremendous regard for governmental employees who work hard to do their jobs every day, even when pressures from Congress, Courts, State Governments and all the people who depend on government services and support are coming to them—and sometimes after them—every day.

My thoughts led me to think of Tom Murray, who just retired from EPA after 44 years of service.  He spent his entire professional life working to improve the environment and did so with balance, good nature and a sense of humor that belied the daily challenges that all government employees deal with.

He was on a mission to find ways to work with the private sector to help them improve their own environmental and sustainability programs, projects and activities to find that unique balance between environmental protections, economic growth and opportunity.

He was the spark plug that created numerous collaborative entities between EPA and the private sector, including the auto sector (by the way it also takes business leaders that are willing to work constructively with government)  that will, for years to come, continue to improve the environment, not because it was a regulation but because he helped companies realize that it made good business sense to find a better way.

Now that he is retired, that good man that spent 44 years in the federal government is focused on one thing, making sure that his grandchildren will have the kind of bright future filled with opportunity that he had when EPA was created, by a Republican I might add.

So, as we continue this week having celebrated the creation of our government on July 4th, please recognize governmental professionals like my newly retired friend—who have done and continue to do their jobs for us every day—in spite of the attacks from certain political persuasions just because they can.

As “Dragnet’s” Jack Webb used to say,  government is “an endless, thankless, glamourless job that’s gotta be done.”

Gratefully, thousands of government employees are willing to commit their professional careers to making life better for all Americans. And oh yes, if the spirit moves you, just say Thank You!

—Steve Hellem

shellem@navista.net

 

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Sam Ufret

Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn. On a related note, you can get a license to hunt unicorns from Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

 

Sources in order: uselessfacts.net  and Lake Superior State University

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