Plenty fear, little trust

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?



  1. SimonSC

    This all reminds me a bit of stories that were coming out of the former USSR in the early 90’s. The archives on Lenin were opened and people were discovering that he was a bit nastier a character than they had learned about it in school. The revelations were getting a lot of people upset.

    It’s always tough when national myths start to fall.

    The German film “Goodbye Lenin”

    is more humourous contemplation on the destruction of national myths.

  2. Carl Nemo

    Hi Simon SC,

    I’ll be happy if in 3.5 years we are saying goodbye to Comrade Obama; ie., if we are to survive as a nation… : |

    Thanks for the film reco. I’ll rent it today.

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. sumanpaul

    You know, actually we ourselves are responsible for our this kind of “situation(psychology)”. At least we can try to take out time for ourselves from our busy life. And I am sure, by doing this, we can trust more and fear less.

    Acai Berry

  4. griff

    I’m afraid that it was blind trust in our government that got us to this point, and people are realizing that we should have begun paying closer attention long ago.

    But we shouldn’t have to spend every day of our lives keeping our government in check. I know I’ve got far better things to do.

    The majority of us have become partisan robots, parroting our party’s talking points without much consideration of opposing or alternative views. It’s either my way or the highway.

    When someone opposes Obama, the swift and automatic response is to attack that person as being a partisan hack or even a blind racist.

    There are plenty of prominent blacks that oppose Obama. Are these people racists too? How do we explain their opposition in this simplistic manner?

    I opposed Bush on everything he did, and was attacked by the right as being liberal. Now that I oppose Obama, I’m attacked by the left as being conservative. Such is the party mentality, not to mention our horribly short collective memory.

    Sure we can do it, but I have my doubts as to whether we are capable or even interested in breaking the stranglehold of partisan division and distrust that permeates every discussion of every issue.

  5. Carl Nemo

    I see absolutely no hope for this nation. With 9 trillion plus dollar deficits being projected into the future on top of our current mind-boggling debt levels; evidently with no intention to move towards balanced budgets in order to restore faith to our creditors; our crazed, grasping, short-sighted leadership at the controls are seemingly hell bent on executing a “death spiral” to the United States of America…!

    Every day in every way there are new disclosures of massive corruption in high places with just todays headline about the VA continuing on its path of gross mismanagement in high places while the vets have to stand in line and beg for their benefits.

    Why should government employees even get bonuses? The government only spends taxpayer money and produces nothing of value other than for the purpose of dispensing mandated services. Bonuses belong in the realm of private enterprise. Government employees generally have cush jobs for life and will retire with top notch benefits and a pension check that’s linked to COLA (cost of living allowance) escalations. Retire today with 4 g’s per month and in twenty years you’ll be making $6000 etc. Generally speaking the private sector doesn’t provide such cush allowances. So too it’s revealed that the VA director was awarded a $60,000 bonus along with an unexplained, cryptic reference to “nepotism” being involved in this debacle. While the private sector is continually ravaged with layoffs; you never hear of commensurate layoffs at the Federal level. Since the states can’t print money, they must lay off employees on occasion; but, it too is a rarity.

    “We can do it. But will we?”…extract from Phil’s article

    “WE the people” could do it, but not in the face of a terminally corrupt government that by all standards should have been cast down some time ago. It’s a case of an ongoing criminal enterprise; ie., our government running amok and there seems to be no force on earth that can stop it shy of an asteroid incoming, nuclear war, plague, or for our currency to break into a swoon of Weimar Republic type hyperinflation.

    We’re headed for the ashbin of history. It’s not a matter of if, but simply when?! I’d say we are in the countdown mode to midnight! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. gazelle1929

    Instead of attacking this president or that president, instead of micturating and puling (big words for pissing and moaning) about how bad our country is and how it is headed down the toilet, why the hell are you not out there DOING something to make it better? You two are exactly the sort to whom Mr. Hoskins is speaking when he says, “We can do it. But will we?”

    Each of you has come forth and said unequivally, “No.” That certainly seems to me to put both of you into being part of the problem and not part of the solution.

  7. Carl Nemo

    Hi Gazelle,

    Why don’t you lay out a plan for us all that will possibly turn about this failing paradigm.

    You seem like a rather bright individual and no doubt have a host of suggestions that will surely bear fruit immediately if not sooner…no?!

    I did say “We the people” could do so, but in the face of an intransigent, unchangeable pattern of government I see little hope for such change.

    Would you like Griff and I to pack our bags and leave the country immediately if not sooner…? :))

    Btw, I’m very proactive in my local tank concerning politics, but alas my 3rd Congressional District Congressman Brian Baird seemingly has hitched his future to the corporatist bandwagon. Senator Patty Murray is always waxing poetically how she’s helping vets, but just today we see a news story laying out seemingly graft and corruption at the top of this byzantine organization. Senator Maria Cantwell seemingly always likes to play it safe and hold back on her vote until she’s assured of landing well on her feet, but not necessarily implementing the will of the Washington State electorate that sent her to office. Yep, we’ve got three dems here and they are performing to perfection relative to the party’s script.

    I contact their local offices regularly. I send emails and even snail mail to their D.C. offices and attend town hall meetings too; ie., “if”‘ they show up.

    Do you suggest I start picketing around the White House too. Would that make you happier? /:|

    What have you done lately to support and indemnify our continued freedom as U.S. citizens under our founding document?

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. griff

    And what have you done? Anyone here that offers any suggestions outside the mainstream political view (which is what is killing us, by the way) is attacked by yourself and others. And you suggest the problem is us?

    I wonder how HR 1207: Federal Reserve Transparency Act 0f 2009 has garnered such widespread bipartisan support, if not for the grassroots efforts of myself and the rest of Campaign for Liberty.

    Of the 282 cosponsors of this bill, 80 are Democrats. This is because of people like myself putting pressure on our representatives. My representative happens to be a Democrat and someone that I voted for this last election. I contact him on every issue, and he graciously responds.

    You consider blind allegiance to Obama as being part of the solution? Because that’s about all I see from any of your posts…attacking anyone that dare oppose his lordship.

  9. gazelle1929

    Just a point of correction, Mr. Nemo. You said, “So its revealed that the VA director rewarded herself with a $60,000 bonus.” That’s not what the article said:

    “The official, Jennifer S. Duncan, also engaged in nepotism and got $60,000 in bonuses herself, the IG said.” Got bonuses. NOT rewarded herself with a $60,000 bonus. The reason I am making a point of this is because this is an example of how crap gets started on the internet. Someone is going to come along and see what you wrote and repeat it, except next time they might round it up to say $100,000 just because that sounds worse than $60,000. Please do not create inaccuracies. Please.

  10. woody188

    We can do it, if the current government and corporate media stay out of our way and allow us equal time to get the word out. If the media blacks out our candidates and message, and the government labels us and our ideas as terrorist, then it will all fall apart.

    Or we’ll end up like Gandhi and it’ll take 20 years of convincing people we need to rise up before anything really happens.

    Great article Phil.

    R U Main Core?

  11. Phil Hoskins

    It is instructive to me that out of this commentary has come more of what I wanted to address. I am always pleased when someone writes after reading one of my missives. I can often see how I failed to express what I hoped to and often generate comments in response that also struggle to express a point of view that is likely complex and in constant formation.

    Without attempting to comment directly on anythng posted here or what those who have read but not commented, I wonder if, in reading all this, we could redevelop our ability to search for ways to bridge gaps, build trust among ourselves (some have read that I recommend greater trust in government. Not now. My thought is that we must first be able to gain trust among ourselves, in our relationships, our families, our communities. 

    To trust that those who differ from us are not evil, stupid or wrong headed, they simply have a different point of view.  Maybe we can find ways to listen to people with a view to search their words for common ground rather than develop counter arguments in our head.

    My hope is we can use this day, this hour, to focus on finding trust in our fellow man.  I believe that is the route to better, trustworthy, government.

    Phil Hoskins

  12. Carl Nemo

    Hi Phil,

    “My thought is that we must first be able to gain trust among ourselves, in our relationships, our families, our communities.”…extract from editorial

    Phil, I personally don’t think there’s great distrust between common ordinary citizens as you propose.

    It’s the loss of trust between this aforementioned group and their government that’s the major problem at this point in time.

    I’m an affable guy when in public and am willing to talk with anyone about any idea under the sun. After a bit of time; I always come up with the average John Q. Citizen as being supremely upset with our Congress first and the Executive Branch second at least when I move the subject of discussion towards politics. I do more listening than talking and its amazing the level of dissatisfaction that I’m hearing in these conversations.

    The reps that are most close and life affecting to us all are our Congressional District Reps and they are the one’s we should be watching most closely after our two elected Senators. These District reps are closest to our communities and should be casting votes that represent a distillate of our collective interests, but they don’t. Instead they have the hubris to pass legislation that in many cases is totally against the wishes of their constituents. The TARP bill and Obama’s 800 billion relief package are examples. I didn’t run across a single citizen in my aforementioned conversations that was for the passage of this largesse, but Congressional District reps nationwide, including mine; ie., Brian Baird Dem-3rd District Washington State went against the tide of opinion. On and on this evil charade of public non-representation goes.

    It’s this supreme council of knaves that have been slowly but surely selling out the U.S. to corporatist and international interests. I don’t think any of them are worth more than a single term in office and its best to “flip” them just like the housing market when it was booming with this type of activity. They seemingly maintain their incumbency by pitching scraps of pork back to their constituents in Mayberry, USA while supplying the deluxe “deli sandwiches” courtesy of the U.S. Treasury to their corporatist sponsors all to our collective peril as a nation.

    Carl Nemo **==

  13. ekaton

    Mr. Nemo wrote, “It’s a case of an ongoing criminal enterprise; ie., our government running amok” – “or for our currency to break into a swoon of Weimar Republic type hyperinflation.”

    I believe the coming hyperinflation is by design, but that’s for another comment.

    It is literally a criminal enterprise that passes its own “laws” which its “don” then decides whether or not he’ll enforce. He, the don, is appointed by a supreme council-of-nine whose members serve until death and whose replacements are selected by the currently esconced don. The supreme council may or may not, at its sole discretion, appoint a don “elected” by the taxpayers. “Laws” are passed by a “bicameral congress” of “legislators” on the payrolls of large, often fraudulent, business and “financial” enterprises, laws that extract wealth from the populace and redistribute it to a financial hierarchy known amongst themselves as “the masters of the universe”. This group selects “candidates”, any of whom are acceptable to the masters, to run in elections paid for and decided by the taxpayers. These masters of the universe are the actual rulers who determine whether there will be war or peace, economic security or depression, and basically life or death. The entire enterprise is one big mafia, one big cosa nostra.

    “We’re headed for the ashbin of history. It’s not a matter of if, but simply when?”

    I hope all those millions we’ve pissed off over the last few decades will be willing to forgive and forget and leave us alone, to stew in our own juices, to pick rags and dive in dumpsters. I doubt we’ll be that lucky. Some may want revenge. I read an AP article in yesterday’s local newspaper. It reported that Iraqis have “become used to bombs”. Can you imagine that? Used to bombs. Really? “Oh, hey, just another bomb – that one got my buddy Eddie, but hey, you get used to it.” I wonder if we’ll have to “get used to” bombs.

    And, still, even so, the rogue nation known as the USA will be as a wounded, half-blinded, staggering grizzly bear, still ravenously hungry and angry and as always out for more blood, clutching nuclear missles in one massive paw, and nuclear submarines in the other. Wounded. Bleeding. Enraged. And as mean and nasty as it’s ever been.

    Kent Shaw

  14. AustinRanter


    Thanks. This column for me… is one of the better that you’ve written.

    In my opinion, you’ve clearly and concisely framed not only the social problems, but without harsh overtones aimed at any specific persons, group, organization, or branch of government. You’ve shared, what I believe, to be a realistic view of everyday social conflicts, shortcomings, and life altering dilemmas in action by citizens and government alike, which are unabatedly holding postive and productive change hostage. Seems as though our state of being gets a bit crazier by the day.

    We have serious problems that you oulined…and undoubtedly will require all parties, private and government to participate to regain some sense of sanity, control, and resolve.

    I, like you, believe that we have the fundamental raw resources available from all fronts. But, I’m not so sure that we have the right combination of human capital to put those resourses to work to pull us out.

  15. sherry

    Carl, I have yet to talk to anyone locally who is happy with the current situation.
    When Obama was sworn in, the people I knew were willing to give the man a chance even if they didn’t vote for him. I was one of them.
    He promised to kick the lobbyists out of DC. While I was skeptical, I was hopeful. Then when he began HIRING lobbyists, well my hopes died a quick death.
    Memo to POTUS: The natives are way past restless. They are angry.
    I wonder if Americans have what it takes to channel this anger and hold them accountable? It’s just not enough to fire the Congress, POTUS, Senate. We have to hold them accountable.
    This administration is doing the same thing as the last one, ignoring the anger with amazing arrogance.
    Our collective anger is doing some good. This healthcare bill the administration attempted to ram through without discussion didn’t happen. Joe Lieberman said perhaps we will have to do this in smaller parts. Another talking head proclaimed the same thing.
    This is a small step. People are paying attention and maybe, just maybe we, the people will hold them accountable.