One hears a lot of talk about America turning into a Third World kleptocracy. I’ve worked in a lot of Third World kleptocracies, back in the days when the Reagan Revolution was fresh and the Reaganauts thought we could export free markets and democracy to the rest of the world. We didn’t, of course. But I had the opportunity to see first-hand what separates a banana republic from the land of the free and the home of the brave. It comes down to the grit of a few people willing to do their job come hell or high water–not look the other way, not accept the stuffed envelope or its equivalent in post-government employment, but to treat a job as a sacred trust given by the people.