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From the Left Hand Corner: Good government is everywhere

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Good government is all around us. Just look for it. You don’t have to look very far.

We are among the most fortunate inhabitants on Earth, just because of the level and type of government we have in this country. Certainly it has innumerable examples of fault and omission, but overall we have a government to be thankful for.

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Those people who criticize it most should at least appreciate that our government provides the security and freedom that allows them to be openly critical without placing their very lives in peril, which would be the situation in huge portions of our planet.

We’ve had too many years of government bashing throughout this country. It was gotten quite tiresome, repetitive and often mindless, but still seems a favorite sport or pastime for many.

It is always quite easy to criticize what others may do or not do, particularly from a safe distance. It is easier to tear down than to build up. It is easier to destruct than to construct.

Criticism, whether valid or not, seems to roll out easier and louder when the subject or matter is reported or presented with negative slant, which is the case with so much of the “news” information in current circulation.

If we are at least somewhat objective in our evaluation and look and listen with open minds and open eyes, we can note that we are subjected to and surrounded by good government. Just take a look around.

“Government” isn’t just Congress or the president or the governor.

It is not just the IRS or CIA or EPA. It is not Big Brother watching over us.

It is also brothers and sisters working and serving with us and among us. As we experience government more locally and directly, it is our counties, cities or villages, townships or towns and school districts.

Certainly there have been some rather weird actions and seemingly pointless power plays at various times in various municipalities of Echo Journal land. By and large, our local governments — county, city, township and school district — seem to have functioned rather well.

Those elected do so for rather modest pay at the county level, and at lesser or no pay with the other local governing entities.

We all can point to exceptional service we’ve experienced in Echoland. There are hundreds of examples to draw from.

My personal favorite and choice of one who exemplifies good government at local levels is Ed Larsen. I can’t even recall if I first knew of him as a very able school administrator or as mayor of Pequot Lakes, but many of us privileged to know him and observe him at work quickly concluded he was great in both roles.

Ed epitomized good government wherever he served, both as head of the small town he lived in and the county, when he later served as a district commissioner. He held strong, but reasoned opinions. He was persuasive in presenting them, but quietly so, always recognizing and respecting room for differing views.

Another example of good government, even closer to home for this writer, is our own Loon Lake Town Board. Some of my close neighbors have served this government entity for decades. They have continued, experienced and knowledgeable, giving us great local government at a very controlled and moderate expense. Winters like this one can make us doubly impressed when township plowing came before the state and county.

There is good government all around us. Whether you think of it as such or not, you are probably part of it.

We also participate in different forms of government within our churches, our service clubs, veterans organizations, ad hoc community action groups, our work organizations and the list goes on. Most of that activity is service to our group or area activity without expectation of pay or reward. It is commonly referenced as a labor of love, certainly not a labor for money.

Each such effort is simply another small part of how we govern ourselves. It is another reason to appreciate living under an overall government framework that permits and encourages such personal action.

I used to (and still do) reflect that any day that I didn’t make any mistakes or errors in judgment would have to be a day when I didn’t work (or do much of anything else). Perfection is beyond our reach, whatever we do.

So, why must we come down so hard on our own government and those who serve in governmental capacities? Why can’t we appreciate and be thankful for what we have? Why can’t we withhold the unfounded, unfair and off-the-wall criticism, and restrict to reasoned constructive criticism?

It is great privilege, and our good fortune, to be living in the longest lasting, at least sort of democratic government in existence. Keep in mind our government is us, still and yet, in spite of Citizens United.

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