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April 30, 2011
The Loss Of Innocent Trust
Americans are afraid!
Americans by the thousands are fearful of their future. By itself this is nothing new. There have always people who say the end is just around the corner. Every event, every disaster, every bump on the road of life is just one more piece of evidence to them that we’re on the edge of impending collapse. As such, these people are usually ignored by the vast majority of people. Or at a minimum the brunt of jokes and parody.
But more and more Americans – decent, hardworking, middle and upper-middle class people – are perceiving that something is intrinsically wrong. And that frightens them.
Americans see what has happened to their cities and towns over the last 2-3 years.
Americans see what is happening to their jobs and the jobs of their friends and neighbors.
Americans see what is happening to their savings.
Americans see what is happening to their purchase power for food, fuel, clothes, entertainment, travel etc.
And now Americans see (and feel!) what is happening to the price of gasoline and heating oil.
At the same time Americans are hearing nothing but sun shine and Champaign reports from the news about “recovery” and “growth” yet don’t see it in their own lives. And they hear the same from their elected representatives up to and including the President.
When Americans call their elected officials to voice their concern they meet with condescending attitudes. When they send letters to their elected officials they receive no response; Not even a “Thank you for your opinion” notes.
When they attend town hall meetings and peacefully but with passion express their concerns they are labeled “extremists”, “radicals”, “hate mongers”, “racists”, and every other vile label you can imagine.
At the same time they see their elected representatives time and time again vote in favor of legislation they have emphatically expressed opposition to. But their opinions seem to fall on closed ears. Or worse, are ignored in favor of a “we know better” attitude.
So in this fertile environment the idea of a collapse of sorts (from currency to economic to Mad Max, take your pick what kind) finds a rich bed to grow. MasterPo isn’t referring to the usual suspects – the people who shave their heads and wear leather jackets, or, who carry shotguns in the back of their pickups painted like the rebel flag. The people today feeling more and more like this are the hardworking white collar as well as blue collar) professionals that are the engine of the country.
But even if none of these dire claims come anywhere near happening, the mere fact that soooooooooo many people are finding this line of thinking to more and more strike some cord of making sense is itself a symptom of the problem:
Americans less and less trust the official word from their elected leaders.
(And, moreover, more and more Americans are acting on that belief in terms of stock piling food, water, clothing and other supplies at a time when financial resources are too precious to squander on frivolous endeavors!)
It has been well written about having a healthy suspicion of politicians. That isn’t new. What is new is the breadth and depth of the suspicion across so many social-economic levels these days. And that does not bode well for America’s future.
When a crisis happens if people believe they cannot trust the “official” word from their government as to the nature of the crisis and what they should be doing about the crisis that feeds into a potential state of panic and chaos. And that’s not to mention the potential for their own health and security, as well as the health and security of the nation as a whole.
For example, in 2010 Swine Flu/H1N1 virus scare. Yes, it was a bad disease and some people did ultimately die from the infection. But quite a few people refused the H1N1 vaccine for themselves and their children. They did not accept the official government assurance the vaccine was safe but instead chose to side with the arguments that it has been rushed to development and (supposedly) missed many of the usual testing and QA reviews of the regular annual flu vaccine. In this case fortunately H1N1 didn’t become the great killer pandemic it might have been. But if it had been much worse than it was there still would have been great resistance to the official policy and that puts individuals and society as a whole in danger.
nation cannot survive, much less prosper, when the people do not trust their leaders.
Not blind trust.
Respectful and cautious trust.