To the Editor:
I recently worked for the federal government at a job that required me to interact directly with hundreds of local citizens. I swore an oath of confidentiality which prevents me from revealing any specific information I gathered. However, that oath does not prevent me from making a few general comments.
This job required a fair amount of technical-computer skills and a large amount of interpersonal skills. It would have been challenging under the best of circumstances, but it was made 10 times more difficult by the large degree of dissatisfaction and animosity many people feel toward the federal government in general, and specifically President Barack Obama.
It was not a political job, and I performed this job in a strictly nonpartisan manner. Just as when I served my country in uniform, I had a job to do, and I would’ve performed it with the same degree of professionalism and dedication regardless of who was occupying the White House. Nevertheless, as a federal employee, I was subjected to all sorts of anti-government persecutions and hatreds.
Many people unreasonably assumed that because I worked for the federal government, I was directly linked to the current administration, and therefore I was a suitable target for their anger and frustration. During recent months, with the presidential election fast approaching, these demonstrations of anger and frustration became increasingly frequent and vehement. I was always as patient and forbearing as possible, and sometimes listened to anti-Obama rants for 30 minutes or more.
Everybody’s entitled to their own opinions, and I tried not to take these rants too personally. Moreover, I don’t really blame people for their strong anti-government feelings. Instead I blame Republicans such as Sen. Mitch McConnell, and I especially blame Tea Party Republicans such as Sen. Rand Paul. I blame them because they are largely responsible for fomenting strong anti-government feelings these past few years.
It seems the height of hypocrisy for them to constantly criticize the federal government for every problem in the nation, if not the world. Aren’t they part of the federal government, too? Isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black? Don’t they work for, and get paid by, the same federal government that pays Obama, and which paid me?
According to a recent (August) Gallup Poll, the approval rating for Congress has sunk to an all-time low of just 10 percent, while a recent (September) poll shows Obama’s approval rating has risen to 52 percent. Apparently, the Republicans’ strategy of thwarting and obstructing and demonizing Obama for four years in order to win back the White House simply isn’t working for them, (although that still remains to be seen). Recent polls also indicate people are fed up with the bitter partisan politics of recent years. Most people simply want government to work efficiently and effectively, and they don’t really care all that much about who’s running it.
A friend of mine recently commented, “Nobody likes the government until they need something from it.” How true! Think of the millions of people who receive every year crucial help and assistance following natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, drought, and hurricanes. More to the point, think of all the governmental services and assistance we’ve all received our entire lives, and now pretty much take for granted.
Finally, I urge readers to kindly understand that federal employees are there to perform functions and services which benefit us all. Their personal politics are their own, just as yours are your own, and they have nothing to do with the current president and administration. If you feel an irresistible urge to vent your anger and frustration toward government, please do contact your senators and representatives. But don’t take it out on federal employees who are there to serve us all.