This week, I had a heartwarming reminder of the good that our government can do and was grateful to spend time with the sort of people who heed the call to public service. You may be aware of the tragic death of a boy in my district, a young man named Josiah McIntyre who contracted an amoeba from the City of Lake Jackson’s water supply and died. It was a horrible tragedy for his family and a heartbreaking loss for our community. His family remains in our prayers.
The thing that warmed my heart, however, was the way that state and local government officials responded. I was deeply touched that Governor Abbott would come to my home district and bring to bear the full resources of the state to ensure that this tragic death would be an isolated incident. I took part in a press conference with the Governor, and many local and state officials. Each and every one of these people was deeply concerned and wholeheartedly committed to making sure that safety was maintained at the highest levels. I can tell you that the genuine emotion and depth of compassion was unmistakable. These men and women reminded me why I have devoted my life to public service over more than two decades and showed the good that public servants can do.
It goes without saying that the life of a government employee or official is often a thankless one. Lately, however, media pundits and the snarling voices emanating from the cesspool known as social media have taken to attacking government officials at every turn, questioning their motivation, deriding their efforts and even showing up at their house to threaten their families. This is wrong. That terrible streak in our national culture has reared its ugly head just over this weekend when people have taken to social media expressing hopes and prayers that President Trump and the First Lady die from the Coronavirus. This is absolutely unacceptable, inhumane and amoral. Anyone who reacted to the announcement of their diagnosis with such evil needs to do some serious soul searching.
During my time in public office, I have met legions of principled, educated, and hardworking individuals who have devoted their lives to public service. The fact that the reward for such a commitment is insults, and even death threats, speaks to deep abiding problems within our culture. If we don’t act to turn the tide before it’s too late, the very future of our nation is in peril.
It is time for all of us to hit the pause button, take a step back and remember that there are lives behind the names. We need to recall there are families, friends and neighbors who care and are affected by this culture of character assassination. It’s time to pray first, think second, then speak words informed by the first two actions.
As I continue to work with officials in the Lake Jackson area to ensure that the measures being taken are effective and enduring, I will also be fervently praying for those who serve in government, from the local tax clerk all the way up to our President and First Lady. I will pray that God blesses them with health, wisdom and the enduring commitment to serve. I will also pray for those who wish them ill, asking God to reveal to them the depth of their depravity and disconnection from essential humanity, along with an invitation for redemption through love, humility and service to others.
When it comes to government employees and officials, it is certainly our responsibility to hold them accountable for their decisions and actions, but it is also our job to pray for them and their families, never forgetting that we are all in this together.