Thursday, August 23, 2018

Public services' disaster response reveals sham of 'small government'

When politically-convenient, Republicans will cut programs, lay off workers, starve services of funding, complain about the 'failures' created by their own synthetic austerity - - and echo, whenever possible, Ronald Reagan's famous demagoguery that "government is the problem."

But read this single recap of the rescues that took place in the literal wake of this week's flooding in Dane County,

the breadth of extensive emergency operations quickly implemented, and the massive reconstruction ahead to appreciate the critical value that government workers, assets and coordination have played and will continue to demonstrate for months, if not years ahead. 

It should not take a disaster to snap into focus just how important is the public sector, its many levels and its citizen staffing.

It should not take a crisis to illuminate the daily good works by men and women who routinely, but perhaps less obviously, perform everyday public health, safety and other vital services  - - but these public employees are the same people who have been diminished by sloganeering 'small government' politicians whose self-serving, divide-and-conquer agendas have stripped mission, memory, and money from vital agencies and short-sightedly stripped workers, teams and collaboratives of respect across all levels of government.

As the flood waters recede, and other events - - whether substantial or small inevitably take up our time and consciousness - - let's hope that the plainly obvious significance of public spending and public service so evident in Wisconsin's flood-ravaged communities doesn't dry up until the next calamity brings us back to basics.

Government funding and government workers aren't the problem. Ignorance and ill-will are.

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