Government is us

I’ve largely stayed out of discussing the whole Arizona shooting here on the blog. You can be sure I have an opinion, and I have shared it freely with friends, but I try in general to avoid opinion here. Maybe I shouldn’t, but that’s the way it is right now. But President Obama’s speech last night made me rethink my position on that for just a bit.

President Obama described Rep. Giffords as someone who was “was good and important and might be a role model”.  Yes, he was describing her through the eyes of a child, but still – that line struck me.  Government, and those who work in it, could be “good and important”.

I bring this up because we so often hear people rail against our government as if it were some “other”. It’s ironic, because it’s often derided that way by people who want to become part of that “other”. This just isn’t the case, though. Government isn’t “them”.

It’s a small point, but it makes all the difference. One of the reasons I don’t fear public administration of things like health insurance is that I feel like it’s being run by “us”. Not “us” as in me and my friends, but “us” as in Americans. If we don’t like it, we can elect new people.  We can change things.

Unlike many people with whom I come into contact, I, too, think that people who work for government can be “good and important”. I stress that to my children all the time, even when I’m talking about politicians with whom I disagree. I may not have voted for all of them, but they are still my Governor, my Representative, my Senators, and my President.

This is the way America works.  It’s what I believe our founders intended, and it’s what has been noted centuries later. It’s government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Government isn’t “them”;  it’s “us”.

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