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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

In Praise of Public Servants

By Michael Spence


September 06, 2016
Tuesday PM

Since the 1980's there has been a gradual erosion of respect and appreciation for the true public servants of our country. Indeed some politicans have promoted an ideology that public service is somehow inferior to private enterprise.

This perception could not be further from the truth. The strongest assets of American culture; our democratic government, our free enterprise, our compassion for the poor and less fortunate; all of these qualities would not exist were it not for the willingness of those who serve and have served the public.

The public servants I refer to are soldiers and sailors, policemen, firemen, the government workers, members of the Peace Corps, judicial workers, school teachers, postal workers, and many others whose principal reward is just knowing that their contribution is meaningful to our society.

Unfortunately there are those who pose as servants of the public, but whose principal goal is financial enrichment, either to themselves personally or their corporate sponsors, friends or relatives. It has become routine, for example, that public policies in our nation are sold to the highest bidder by many of our politicians. Even our highest court has deemed that giving vast amounts of money to politicians is free speech, even though most of us know that is simply legalized corruption of our democratic process.

This deception is furthered by the dark veil of privatization , in which the public pays for services that used to be public. Examples are health care and the military industrial complex. These two segments of our economy now account for 30% of our gross domestic product, a staggering cost compared to any other developed country in the world. This privatization trend has been sold to our representatives in government over several decades, under the pretext that it is more efficient that the old economy of public service. More efficient, supposedly, because it portrays the model of 'free enterprise in contrast with socialism . This model could not be further from reality since health care and the military industry are not free markets. Instead they are tightly controlled, anti-competitive, and designed to extract maximum profit from ordinary citizens of our nation.

How long will it take for our collective consciousness to rise above this twisted form of robbery? Already a lot of millenials and twenty somethings have become aware that the social entitlements of previous generations such as social security, health care, and pensions from a lifetime of employment are now under threat of cancellation. The old social entitlements are being replaced in the public budget with even bigger corporate entitlements.

Voting isn't the only way, but might be the most civilized way, to restore public service to what it once was. We are up against a very big challenge, however. The industrial socialists will make every effort to stop ordinary people from voting, through gerrymandering the districts, through voter registration impediments, and in the case of Alaska, through the nearly impossible and therefore irrelevant absentee voter system. Its all about the money, folks. Keeping our voter turnout at 20% or less preserves the status quo.

Public Service is an honorable and true testament to everything that is great in our nation. We should strive to bring it back.

Michael Spence
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received September 03, 2016 - Published September 06, 2016

About: "Long time Ketchikan resident who has a great admiration for true public servants"


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