(Mark Noonan) – That phrase is emblazoned on the seal of our great State of Nevada. Fine, noble words, indeed. But is anyone here in Nevada attempting to live those words?
The hypocrite justly earns our contempt. The Christian who preaches loudly about morality but won’t spare a dime for the poor. The politician screaming for ethics reform while taking bribes on the side. The businessman talking all day of the free market while lobbying government to give him special privileges. These are the sort of people who put us on edge.
The other day I just happened to glance at our State seal and see that phrase – and then, today, I read in Nevada News and Views of a campaign by some State employees to convince everyone that any cuts to government employment will be a horrible catastrophe we simply cannot tolerate. Here we are, locked in the worst economic climate of the past 75 years and with our State revenues dropping like a rock, State employees are not stepping up to help, but demanding to be excused from the economy and supported as if nothing had changed.
Here comes a young soldier. He’s 19 years old and joined the Army right out of high school. He’s in public service. And when we ship him off to Afghanistan he won’t complain. He’ll shoulder his weapon and go where he’s sent and fight whom we tell him to fight. And then he’s killed. His buddies mourn. His family is devastated. We bury him with high honors, as befits such a hero.
And then our government employees do what in honor of his memory? Pitch a bitch about having to give up a day’s pay. Public service? All for our country? Self serving hypocrites, more accurately.
It is time for a re-ordering of our priorities. It is time we started putting things in their proper perspective. Service is when you do something you’d rather not do, but feel called to do.
No one wants to head off to Afghanistan to battle the Taliban, but fortunately we have tens of thousands of men and women who are willing to do just that. Same thing with police and firefighters – the cop doesn’t want to kick in the door of the murder suspect and the firefighter doesn’t want to rush in to the burning building. But they gladly do it because they serve.
And those who serve deserve everything we can give them regardless of how much it costs.
But those who push papers at the DMV and in school administration buildings? Well, they are doing a job we want done, but its not like they are actually putting anything on the line. Its not like they are deferring and risking their lives for others. Its not like they are really serving, like a soldier or policeman serves. Heck, they are not even making as much sacrifice – doing as much service, that is – as the waiter who just brought you lunch.
While our government is heading in to bankruptcy and the taxpayers are stressed like never before, this isn’t the time to hear complaints from people who have lived well off the productivity of others.
Suck it up, government employees and feel fortunate that we don’t just axe your department, completely. All of us are at risk of losing our jobs. If the boss comes to me tomorrow and says, “take a pay cut, or take a hike”, I’ll just have to take the pay cut. Won’t want to. Won’t like it. But I’ll just have to deal with it – as so many of my fellow Nevadans have also had to deal with it.
All for our country. Most of us will never be called upon for that. We can thank God for it. And thank those who do go out there and risk all for our country as their sacrifice excuses us from the task. But we can certainly give a little. And if that means a little less pay, then that is the smallest of small prices to pay.
(Mr. Noonan co-publishes Blogs for Victory)