Jeffrey, to a great extent, I agree with you (see my response to Mark).
And these problems aren’t exclusive to government; see this anecdote from yesterday: http://consumerist.com/2013/04/30/workers-dealing-with-customers-say-theyre-not-getting-enough-guidance-from-management/
Most large institutions have these problems. What I want to know is how we 1.) shift our cultures to want to do better on these issues, and 2.) get more of gov. at the satisfaction levels of the top fives in the Best Places to Work (or, dare I say it, looking even more like those similarly large institutions in the private sector Great Places to Work rankings).
To your final point (and one made by others) — absolutely. Saying something when you really have nothing constructive/useful/legal to say is not better than saying nothing at all. And every individual does not have a reasonable expectation that their opinion or concern weighs as much as every other opinion or concern.
Much of these perception problems, I’m fact, can be dealt with by senior leaders simply saying, “I heard you, and I’m doing something.” I’ve seen that have a tremendous impact on morale and perception, even when employees don’t agree with what’s being done. They just want to know they’ve been heard.