Government at the local, state, and national levels represents our commitment to working together to further our common interests and quality of life. We depend on government for security and stability, and we use public (government) services in virtually every aspect of our daily lives, from roads to parks, schools to libraries, fire protection to Social Security, food safety to sewage disposal, and national currency to national defense.

Nevertheless, some politicians and commentators find it convenient to sneer at government, effectively belittling our commitment to working together peacefully and productively.

Of course, no government is perfect. That’s why we should be active participants in the public sector: by campaigning and voting, by staying in touch with our representatives, and by volunteering when needed. And yes, we should thank those who work in the public sector: our teachers, election officials, law enforcement officers, librarians, street-repair crews and others.

Government is not just — or even primarily — about the quirks and personalities of politicians. We have checks and balances so we can survive and transcend the excesses and flaws of specific leaders.

In recent years, the needs for cooperation and collective action have grown. We are now facing problems, nationally and globally, that must be addressed collectively. Overpopulation, climate change, resource exhaustion, massive inequity leading to instability, and insurrection all can (and must) be tackled through coordinated action. We must select and support governments that have the courage and determination to address these perils.

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It’s not like we have a choice. We need more cooperation, more compromise, and more respect for shared concerns and shared goals. This doesn’t mean the eclipse of the individual, nor the abandonment of our national identity. It does mean our survival, individually and collectively, now hinges on our willingness and ability to work together.

Charles Gessert

Duluth




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