The Morning Rant: Trust

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Trust. I don’t have it any more.

I used to trust the police. I used to trust my representatives and senators (at least a little). I used to trust the president to be at least minimally competent and patriotic. I used to trust the town employees. I used to trust clerks at stores. I used to trust the people around me as I walked or drove. I used to trust the governor to run the state halfway decently. I used to trust Washington D.C. to fumble around and screw things up but eventually find a decent solution that didn’t get too many Americans killed. I used to trust the legal system to be screwed up but ultimately interested in the law.

But not any more.

The shift from minimally patriotic and focused a bit on the success and safety and security of our country, to a self-serving drive to maximize wealth and power at the expense of literally everyone seems to be complete. And that extends from the president selling influence, and destroying America in the process, down to the village clerk lining his pockets with the change from our parking meters (true story), or the building inspector taking bribes (another true story).

American Exceptionalism is many things, but one of the most profound differences was the shared commitment to our country and its greatness. We could trust the guy across the street or across the state or across the country to be dedicated to approximately the same things. Love of country. Patriotism. The belief that we were going to be better tomorrow. Even the great schism of The Civil War healed after shockingly few years. There are countries that had less profound and destructive internal differences 1,000 years ago that are still fighting! But we moved on.

No more. Our trust in each other has been so eroded by a never-ending cascade of disappointments and betrayals and lies that we no longer trust in the inherent goodness…the inherent superiority…of American Exceptionalism. We have devolved into a wealthier version of Yugoslavia or Sudan or Ukraine.

Who do we trust? Our friends. Our families. Our tribes.

Sound familiar?

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