Coping With The Shutdown

Some in government are still public servants

He’d love to help us with a comment, the employee at a federal agency told one of our journalists last Monday, but he couldn’t. Blame the “government shutdown,” he explained. He wasn’t even supposed to be on the job Monday.

Still, he answered some questions, doing his best to help.

Government at all levels can be frustrating, even infuriating. But our call Monday was a reminder that there is an enormous, important difference between the politicians and bureaucrats who too often are the face of government and the hundreds of thousands of good, dedicated public servants who also are on local, state and federal payrolls.

Remember, for example, guards at the veterans’ memorial in Washington, D.C., during a shutdown a few years back? They were ordered to keep the public out.

But when a group of World War II veterans showed up, the guards saluted, thanked them for their service, and welcomed them onto the memorial’s grounds.

We’re not going to identify the man with whom we talked Monday. Wouldn’t want to get him in hot water with his superiors. But bless him — and the many government employees who share his sense of duty.