I've had it up to here with people who spend countless hours castigating government as if it were their worst enemy. I'm thankful for our government at all levels, and they should be, too.

Within the first two hours I am awake each working day, government provides me with drinkable water, a functioning sewage system, reliable trash collection (Tuesdays and Fridays), and dependable bus and subway service. Government regulators limit the charges for the electricity for my morning shave, allocate radio and television frequencies that allow communications companies to tell me what happened during the night, and ensure the purity of my breakfast food and morning medicine.

Indirectly we all benefit each day from a military establishment, a police force and social and economic programs that permit a high degree of stability in our normal lives.

Perhaps I value government so much because I served in the Peace Corps in a nation where government failed to provide so many of the things we take for granted. The drinking water was dangerous. Civil disturbances, riots and revolutions were commonplace. Once the government became so angry over student protests that it shut down all universities for a full year.

Perhaps I also value government because I spent most of my youth in government schools and most of my adult life working for government universities and associations. I refuse to apologize for my employment. This work seems at least as valuable to the common good as that done by the highly paid financial wizards at Mobil Corp., who have spent most of their time recently failing to acquire Conoco and Marathon.

I recognize that government is not perfect. Our military has not won every war, but its record is awfully good. There is too much crime in the streets, our schools can do better, and there are gaps in our economic and social programs. Government regulators have been a bit overzealous in many cases. On balance, however, the U.S. government has been a successful enterprise.

Let us not destroy the morale of the many capable public servants by constantly degrading their efforts. Let us not become so cynical about government that we write it off as hopeless. We have a good thing going that could stand some improvement.