As I write this, Boston, and its suburbs, is locked down as law enforcement seeks the second bomber. Meanwhile, from Texas, Rick Perry (who has in the past pushed for the secession of Texas from the US, and likely opposed the help the Feds approved after Sandy) is begging for Federal aid for West, Texas, which actually does need it.
But back to Boston. Who is out looking for the bomber? Government workers. Tirelessly, bravely, not thinking about the potential personal harm: these folks rush in because it's what they do. The hospitals that treated the injured after the Boston Marathon bombing? Federal funds recipients for Medicaid and Medicare patients, as well as payment for people who need help and have no insurance. The last thing on anyone's mind as the patients flowed in Monday was who was going to pay. A lot of the doctors and nurses wouldn't hold their degrees today if not for student loans, backed by the Feds, sometimes direct from the Feds. Even in my generation, when education was much cheaper and it was possible to put oneself through college, it was impossible to get through med school without loans. Research? Clinical trials? Lots of things that make hospitals do what they do? Again, government funding.
This is not to say that there are non-government employees who provided photos and videos, and rushed in to help at the initial blast...but it's the FBI doing facial recognition on all those hundreds of thousands of photos and tapes. It's the FBI that announced yesterday they'd be providing victim assistance.
This morning I was at the car dealer to get something recalled fixed on my car (no, I'm not clear what) and the TV was on, and everyone was discussing the bombing and making fun of the idiot on the street reporting for CNN. I got into a conversation with a guy who explained to me why government was bad, why we shouldn't have to pay such high taxes...if you know me, you know the conversation...but today it was peppered with me pointing to the TV screen -- at the cops and other government officials...what would happen if they weren't there? Didn't he think they deserved decent salaries and benefits? He was so beholden to his teabag beliefs that I actually might have given up, but it turns out that I was amoungst people who shared the view that government matters. To all of us.
It may take a Sandy storm, or a Boston bombing, or a Texas explosion to get us to focus...but every year is an election year. Often odd-numbered years are when we vote for the local people who fund (or don't fund) the policemen, firemen, teachers, public works workers....they're out there doing good 24/7/365. Remember that this November.