Holidays good time to show trust in people

Who do you trust?

Pretty much nobody in today’s America.

In the past 40 years, trust has eroded to the point where only about one-third say most people can be trusted and the other two-thirds say you have to be real careful about people, according to an AP-GfK poll.

This picture might be a bit more unexpected if our own government didn’t routinely deceive its citizens — no matter who or which party is in power.

Just refer to the president’s solemn promise that if you like your doctor/health insurance, you can keep your doctor/health insurance. Or the White House’s Orwellian practice of not allowing photojournalists to photograph President Barack Obama’s official events — instead passing out its own version of visual history. Or George W. Bush’s claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction to justify a U.S. invasion. Or the first President Bush’s own version of “if you like it, you can keep it” — the infamous “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

Beyond a lack of trust of government at all levels, Americans are overwhelmingly suspicious of their neighbors, the clerks who swipe their credit cards or the tradesmen who show up at their doors.

Perhaps the tone in today’s plethora of news outlets — from talk radio to cable news to your local paper — have helped fuel the flames. But a fast-paced society — where communication is no longer over the fence but by text, email or Twitter and Facebook invective — has resulted in a nation with more isolated, mistrustful people.

New rules of etiquette outline how people should interact, but remotely on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Even a superintendent of schools found it hard to abide by those rules of cyber courtesy.

And an increasingly litigious society has turned to lawsuits to settle disputes large and small, some of which previously would have been resolved with a handshake.

Today’s world may offer material goodies the likes of which previous generations could only dream, but the loss of civility and trust has led to a much hollower dog-eat-dog, win-at-all-costs America.

As the hectic holidays progress, perhaps it’s time to show a little trust in the people around you. After all, it is the season of goodwill to men.

 

— Albuquerque Journal

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