You’ll hear a lot of folks, by the way, say that government is broken. Well, government and politics are two different things. Government is our troops who are fighting on our behalf in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s government. Government are also those FEMA folks when there’s a flood or a drought or some emergency who come out and are helping people out. That’s government. Government is Social Security. Government are teachers in the classroom. Government are our firefighters and our police officers, and the folks who keep our water clean and our air clean to breathe, and our agricultural workers. And when you go to a national park, and those folks in the hats — that’s government.
So don’t be confused — as frustrated as you are about politics, don’t buy into this notion that somehow government is what’s holding us back. Now, too much government — if it’s oppressive and bureaucratic and it’s not listening to people and it’s not responsive to the needs of people and isn’t customer friendly — that’s a problem. And if you stand in line at some government office and nobody seems to be paying any attention to you, well, that needs to be fixed. And if somebody is trying to regulate a small business and they’re not paying attention to the realities of the small business, that’s a problem.
But don’t buy into this whole notion that somehow government doesn’t do us any good; government is what protects us. The government is what built the Interstate Highway System. Government is what sent a man to the Moon. It’s what invested in the research and development that created innovations all across this country
Barack Obama, 8/14/11