When discussions turn to the government, they usually relate to a cast of elected officials ranging from town council member to president of the United States.
Invariably, everyone with a knowledge of the comings and goings of these people who have been elected to office has a view of government that is deeply colored by impressions left by the people entrusted by the voters – reasonable or otherwise – to be at the top of the managerial pyramid.
Meanwhile, there's a government that operates where the rubber meets the road, and this harsh winter has left some of those public servants with few opportunities to take a breath. Say what you want about the relative efficiency of how streets in Harford County and across Maryland have been cleared in the aftermath of the various storms that have swatted the region since mid-December, the folks driving the plows and spreading the salt have been out there taking care of business.
Sure, some streets don't get cleared as quickly as others, and problems are bound to arise in any enterprise that pulls people away from day-to-day duties and puts them behind the wheels of snow plows. On the whole, however, the people on the front lines battling this season's snow and ice have had their hands full and they've been largely at the ready as each storm has approached.
Soon enough, they'll have a new focus. Even as this week's snow and ice begins to melt away, temperatures will rise, asphalt will heave and potholes will pock the roadways, even more than they already have. As that happens, many of the same folks who have been moving snow and spreading salt will be obliged to change jobs. They'll still be out on the streets, though it will be fighting the springtime battle of the potholes.
That kind of work is what government is all about.