Imagine, oh jaded ones, the following scenario: A government employee is being interviewed on a radio talk show, and fields a call from a listener in Arkansas who raves about the government's "amazing job." The employee says, "Well, first off, thank you for your support, because it's your tax dollars at work." "You betcha. I'm proud of ya," responds the happy taxpayer.
It's enough to warm the cockles of the heart, and it certainly warmed mine as I drove home, ambushed by good news from a radio station that more often provides painful details on the latest setbacks for humanity.
As it turned out, the program was about NASA's unmanned mission to Mercury, whose dazzling success owes to close collaboration between scientists and engineers, government and the private sector, and cost-conscious budgeting.
Most of us have a quarrel with government. It can be slow, wasteful, easily corrupted. People love to complain. But my heart is not the only one that wishes for a government that elicits more pride than disdain.