Honest citizens needed

To the Journal editor:

(After) this holiday season I want to send a note of thanks to many folks who have gotten a bad rap in the last couple of years and still continue to do outstanding work on our behalf: our civil servants!

During my 30-year career working for the National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, I saw that 99 percent of my co-workers were dedicated to the mission of their agency and proud to do a good job for the citizens of their country, state, county, city or town.

There may be losers and cheaters and thieves in every walk of life, but the overwhelming majority of public employees do not fall into those categories.

Unfortunately, it has become popular in some circles to disrespect government employees from federal fire fighters to teachers and police. Some politicians scramble to blame everyone but themselves for poor administration of our country. In so doing, they attempt to make scapegoats of public employees.

For example, the recent extreme California fires were not the cause of poor management by state and federal land management agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service. Indeed, agency budgets have been drastically reduced over the last decade making it more difficult to accomplish forestry and fire prevention work.

But there are many other factors at play here. For instance, people continue to build in areas acutely prone to fire danger because politicians allow it to happen.

And most importantly, our continued and flagrant use of fossil fuel spurs more extreme climate change events, but many politicians deny the science in order to ensure oil and gas companies will continue to fund their reelection campaigns. There is plenty of blame to go around without falsely accusing dedicated resource managers.

So this note of appreciation goes to you, our local dedicated civil servants. Thank you for the work that you do, and hang in there during these trying times — including those currently faced by federal employees furloughed without paychecks as a result of inept leadership.

Hopefully, more honest citizens will step up to the plate and run for office to drive out the crooked politicians who are trying to privatize the government to help their campaign funding at the expense of proven higher costs for all of us.