Forget about going all the way to the London Olympics for heroes. This weekend, we saw real heroes -- and real scoundrels -- right here in America.
First, look at the images from Pasadena, Calif. last night. You can watch them in this video. How fantastic that the American ingenuity of NASA scientists got us to Mars. It makes me proud to be an American. I can't get enough of these images from when the probe touched down. These scientists are American heroes.
And there was another American hero this weekend: Brian Murphy. He is the police officer who protected the Sikh community in Wisconsin during that awful tragedy yesterday. Despite being ambushed and taking nine bullets, he waved off medical attention so the victims inside could get help instead. He is in critical condition in a local hospital, and he is an American hero.
The NASA scientists and Officer Murphy represent the best of America.
And then there's the other end of the spectrum: an American scoundrel who reared her head this weekend, too. I refuse to give her publicity, so we'll just call this venomous person "she who shall not be named."
She said this about public employees: "Government jobs, we're for losing government jobs."
Well, guess what, Madame Voldemort: Those NASA scientists hold government jobs. Officer Murphy has one of those awful government jobs. Those who purify your water, inspect your meat, and test your kids' toys, as well as a huge number of nurses, teachers, and our soldiers, are public employees. The firefighters who don't hesitate to rush toward danger while you run away from it -- they are all public employees.
"Government jobs, we're for losing government jobs." Really? Those who devote their lives to serving our country, children, and neighborhoods are giving back. They have answered the call to serve. Public service used to be the highest of callings, until people like Madame Voldemort vilified it.
We need to be celebrating those who serve us rather than mocking them for the purpose of getting on TV and selling some books.
Now, no one in their right mind would think that her opinion actually matters. But, sadly, her opinion isn't hers alone. Mitt Romney, the man seeking the presidency, has this very same insulting, anti-public-employee rhetoric as she-who-shall-not-be-named. We all remember when he said, "[President Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
When it comes from her mouth, we can write it off as the hateful, controversial nonsense of someone pining for attention. But when it comes from the mouth of a man seeking the highest office in the land, it's a whole 'nother thing.
What are you going to do, Mitt, if you become Commander-in-Chief? Insult the armed services? Alienate the Secret Service agents who would take a bullet for you?
Maybe your wealth means you don't need public servants. Maybe you can just build a private jail cell, hire private tutors and doctors, and pay for private contractors to pave the streets to your many homes.
As for the rest of us, I don't know about you, but I'm really, really, really grateful for the service of all you public employees out there.
You are the true heroes, and we thank you for your efforts every day.
This piece originally appeared at The War Room blog. The War Room With Jennifer Granholm airs weeknights at 9 p.m. EST. on Current TV. Follow Jennifer Granholm on Facebook and Twitter, and The War Room on Facebook and Twitter.