In my last opinion piece about why to get a government job, it was misunderstood by some government employees, Some thought that I was saying that ALL government employees are privileged simply by having a government job. That could NOT be further from the truth!

When I write about the elected officials and what they say in meetings, what they do, how they act, decisions they make and at times when they push the law, in my mind they are the "government" and thus the "get a government job" remark.

Let me explain.

I've had elected officials say to me, "It's not illegal to" or get upset and say "I thought that we were friends" when I disagreed with their decision. One even tried to intimidate me with how much money they made, thinking that I should be appropriately impressed by their bank balance. They don't know that a bunch of zeros don't impress me.

One elected official even threatened to hurt my kids. So yes, when I talk about getting a "government job" this is why. I associate this behavior with "government" and the privilege a few of these elected officials think they have. These are the things that make me say that.

I don't have time for that nonsense, and I will write about it. These are the people that I hold to a MUCH higher standard. Yet I am sometimes disappointed, and for some reason, I'm always surprised by that.

We trust these people to do things the right way and above board. I expect them to follow the law and not try to find a way around it and push the lines. But at times a few of them do, and I will point it out, and not apologize for that. And when I say a few, I mean one or two, a minority of our elected officials.

However, in my previous column, some of you who are technically government employees might have taken what I said to mean you. Yet that couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, you are technically a "government employee" but you are the kind of government employee that makes the world go around. There are many more of you, and for some reason, in my mind I don't even consider you to be "government employees" because, well, I actually see you working and doing things to benefit everyone. I see the good that you bring to the world.

I'm chuckling because I just realized the difference in my mind between a government job and a "government job." If you are working, you can't POSSIBLY be a government employee! You are simply good and hard-working people.

The majority of our government employees are the people who have never once threatened me or my family. You've never assumed that you were better than anyone else. You never brag about how you're richer than I am. Not once have I ever had to write about any of you doing your jobs deliberately wrong. You've never said, "Hey, let's break the law here!"

Many of you do jobs that many won't do. Many of you have abilities that the rest of us do not. You are the hardworking, backbreaking workers. You put your nose to the grindstone every day. Some of you have told me how you feel ignored by the elected officials, and at times I feel frustrated not knowing how to speak up for you, simply because I don't fully understand some of the issues clearly enough to write about it.

In other cases, you are the ones that we don't see but the ones that pull off the feat of keeping the lights on, the water running, the parks beautiful, the streets repaired, and the trees trimmed. You provide services that our kids enjoy. THESE are the people that we should be giving pats on the back to. And THESE are the people that in my mind fall into a completely different category of "government employees."

These are the people we should roll our windows down when driving past them and yell, "THANK YOU!!!"

These are the people that put their blood sweat and tears into their jobs. They try to figure out how to do their jobs better. These are the people that get yelled at for anything that goes wrong. These are the ones that break their neck to make sure life runs smoothly for all of us. And these are the people who lay in bed and try to figure out how they can improve things.

THESE too are the workers employed by the government, however, they do not expect to be treated better than anyone else. And they aren't. They often get the brunt of the public's wrath when anything goes wrong.

When people at the top, aka elected officials, are making decisions affecting all of us, yet feel above us and the law, I have issues with that. And that is when I will say, "get a government job" because I know in the real world you cannot say or do what I saw in the government meetings this week.

Before ALL the local elected government employees think I meant you, I don't. It's the few bad apples that get under my skin and make me growl, "stinking government!" So that's on me. I need to be more specific in my growling. The ones I write about are the ones that try to intimidate this reporter person and treat people like jerks and don't lose sleep over it.

So yes, tell your kids to get a government job if they are good hard working people. We need them. Really we do. And hey, the benefits are great if you stick with it long enough.

More importantly, teach your kids to be good people, so that they can take the place of some of these few elected officials. Teach them how it's NOT okay to abuse their power. Teach them to respect the poorest as they do the millionaires. Teach them to be good people. We need more of that in government for sure.

Sometimes when I get so irritated with "the government," I will growl, "Stinkin' government," and when I do, know I mean a specific person or persons that happens to be employed by the government while being a jerk. As a taxpayer, I'm paying them to be a "government employee" and I can't even fire them. In essence, I feel like I'm paying them to treat us like jerks. That isn't a very pleasant feeling.

So, my deepest apologies to all of you who make all of our lives better doing what you do, and you thought I was trying to insult you. I'm sorry for my misspoken words that may have made you feel like I didn't respect you. Most of all I'm sorry if it hurt you, I sure didn't mean to do that. Trust me, you have all the appreciation from this gal and you always will.

Just another disclaimer, because I'll assume that I've now upset all the elected officials. Trust me, if you've been good, and you've done the job right, you haven't been a jerk, you haven't threatened my family, you don't try to intimidate anyone, you too are not the problem. You're one of the good ones, keep being you. I appreciate you for what you do as well.

Shew, and I sincerely mean this. Don't ever hesitate to drop me a note and say, "did you mean...because it sounded like..." at which point I'll probably say, "Crud, that wasn't at ALL what I meant!" I do appreciate your feedback!

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MB November 3, 2023, 1:52 pm Valerie,
Thank you for this well written love letter to the good ones out there who are trying to make our community a better place. As you stated, it only takes a few bad apples but you have highlighted why so many of us love our jobs and the people we serve in our community. I sincerely appreciate the time and energy you put into this piece. Keep on fighting the good fight.

Matt Boggess
Vinton Parks & Recreation
GB November 4, 2023, 9:57 am Val, it is admirable of you to speak up and call out our elected leaders when they need to be called out while giving praise to the majority who strive to do the right thing everyday.
Clearly when our elected officials become arrogant and self serving, they have forgotten who they work for.
MC November 4, 2023, 8:26 pm I am appalled that the threats continue. It’s time that these people resign. That is not acceptable…but we have a county attorney that probably wouldn’t prosecute one of his own anyway.
You’re doing a great job!
Instinctively I knew what you meant in your first opinion piece. The hard workers are one of us. But power sometimes goes to the heads of the ones who are elected simply by their name or family popularity. It’s time to find hard workers to elect!