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We have many things to be concerned about, we fear what might happen next, we worry in a generalized, somewhat unfocused way. From job insecurity which now insists itself into many homes to wave after wave of foreclosures, bankruptcies and credit defaults, to concrns about health, safety and well being, we have a lot on our plates.
We know most of us don’t live in a healthy manner, we don’t eat right, we don’t exercise enough, we are abusers of too many drugs, predominantly prescription, we don’t sleep enough and we overwork ourselves. We consume more than we produce. We are afraid of terrorists, that the climate is going to do us in and the financial sector is barely an inch above water.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had the assurance that all these problems can be dealt with because we knew if we just worked with others on them things would get better and maybe some of the issues could reach a acceptable conclusion.
America started out in an era of many problems and some few among us had the foresight to find common ground "in order to form a more perfect union." I say some few because the bulk of the population were either not involved or uninterested in the business of statecrafting.
Among those who did form this nation there were many disagreements, some rather violent. Also among them was enough trust, even though imperfect and often tested, that out of the disagreements would emerge an acceptable conclusion. And so it did.
Today, the majority Americans are facing the reality that almost all the reasons given by their government for gettingus into the war against Iraq were wrong. Many struggle to face it, but for those who have, they are left witha cancerous mistrust of government.
We have had to face the betrayals of our trust by Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Bush "I will not raise taxes" I, Clinton, Bush "Mission accomplished" II and now Obama. We see members of Congress convicted of hiding bribes in a freezer, passing legislation for the highest bidders, and flaunting common morals without a hint of remorse — until caught.
We have sports starts exposed as dope-built frauds, journalists caught shilling for either government or big money (are those two different things?) Nearly every aspect of our lives that at one time gave us hope, in which we invested our trust, and who we viewed as honest has undegone cataclysmic attack in our lifetime. We can’t even always trust our religious leaders anymore.
So what is possible in a nation with such an eroded sense of trust? Not much.
Without a degree of trust some think it is within the bounds of common sense to bring their gun when going to a town hall meeting. Without trust voices — right and left — seem to be unaware that shouting doesn’t convince. Without trust we just aren’t going to get far in addressing our common problems.
This economy is a stack of cards subject to a mild sneeze. We are so far in debt that any reasonable person would see we must end our addiction to money. I do not mean spendingalone, although that is certainly a part of the equation. I mean that we are addicted to money just as surely as some crave heroin. It will not get better until we have enough trust in our system to bite the bullet and suffer the significant devaluation together, not as solitary individuals.
We must have a trust that this is a shared problem and we will find the solution together, not have it imposed upon us.
Health care is a bad joke, one that is seriously out of bounds ethically and economically. The Obama "plan" is more of the same bad joke under the guise of "reform." That isn’t reform, that is fiddling. We have little trust left in him as President, Congress to act on our behalf, insurers to be there when we need them, and even our doctors and practitioners to act in our best interest rather than thier own.
Our public elements — education, infrastructure, honest justice and shared burdens and benefits are in serious disrepair. We are a failed state waiting to wake up.
The good news is we have what it takes to get back up off the floor and stand tall again. The bad news is we cannot do it except by working together, putting aside partisanship, disagreements, beliefs and presupositions. We need to build trust in every level of our society.
We can do it. But will we?