My girlfriend works for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) here in Washington, DC. Last week, she was told be her supervisor that her job would not be included in the FY2013 budget. She is a Marine Biologist, and has a MS in Marine Resource Management. She is a hard worker, and very devoted. She is crushed.
Consoling her the other night she told me her feelings. She said "working for the government sucks. You can't let yourself care, because if you do, it destroys you when your work is thrown away." She described what it felt like over the last two years to listen to people call her work worthless in political gaming. People don't even know what she does, but they are willing to slash her office's funding in complete ignorance.
I hate seeing her down, and worse to see her swallow a bitter seed of cynicism. In all the discussions on budgets, we only hear about numbers. We never hear about people or what the numbers mean in our lives. Just numbers. You'll never have to console a number.
"Government" isn't a dirty word, and it used to be treated as a honor to give back to your country. I've posted it before, but I think Lewis Black captures my feelings pretty well right now.