Grand Junction (CO) City Council
5 January 2011
Joe Alaimo (304 words - 2:00)

Public services are those that are soles essentials of modern lives that, for moral reasons, [are] considered fundamental human rights. It’s the day to day job of a public servant to provide those rights to as many as possible. The right to clean water and the right to live in dignity and peace are examples of these.

These services are not belief-based. They are the same for all men and women, all religions, and all walks of lives.

Sometimes, public servants, face ingratitude or hostility when they disagree with members of the public and that is unfortunate.

The served must never forget to be grateful for those who choose public service. One can disagree with a policy but one needs to do so with civility and with dignity so that we may share the greater goal of living together in a free society.

For their part, the public servant must never fail to respect the dignity of those with different opinions or beliefs. It would be easier to govern in a world with one mind but the price would be too great.

So today, I thank you, and the 16% of non-religious citizens thank you, for accepting an atheist to give what has historically been a religious invocation.

But there is one more thing I would ask: Many believers and non-believers alike dream of a day when the strength to take on the task of public service need not be found by bowing the head, closing the eyes, and praying for it. Instead, we hope for a day when whomever chooses to serve, in whatever capacity, can lift their head, open their eyes, and with compassion and reason find strength in the hands, hearts, and eyes of their brothers and sisters.

One day, perhaps today, we will have reached that greater goal.

Thank you.