by James Glaser
December 30, 2014
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Maybe, the title should have read, "Whom Do You Trust" or "Whom Can You Trust"

Trust —
a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b : one in which confidence is placed


We all need to trust people or things or even our own bodies to make it through life. We trust that our body will keep us breathing and our blood flowing when we go to sleep. We trust the bridge we are about to drive across will hold us up or that elevator will safely take us up or back down. But what about the people and institutions we have to deal with. Do we or should we trust them?

If you are a news junky or are politically active, after a while you have a hard time believing what the media or our politicians are telling us.

If you want to trust some politician, but then learn they are doing things you think are wrong, your trust level for them takes a hit. For me, politicians like President Obama, who has the blood of hundreds of children on his hands, have lost any level of trust I once put in them.

Cornel West is currently the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Prior to his appointment at Princeton, he was the Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. University Professor at Harvard University. Here is what he says about President Obama's continuing drone attack program in which hundreds of children and civilians have been killed with many more maimed:

"You can't meet every Tuesday with a killer list and continually have drones drop bombs. You can do that once or twice and say: 'I shouldn't have done that, I've got to stop.' But when you do it month in, month out, year in, year out — that's a pattern of behavior."

So, I see our President on television telling us about how the economy is getting better, and the unemployment levels are falling, and I think to myself, "This guy is a child killer." Should I believe anything a mass killer of children has to say? Trust? How do you trust a mass murder of children? Would you trust Adam Lanza, the killer of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School? Lanza only shot twenty some children, while President Obama has attacked hundreds, and he continues to kill more to this day.

The media. I have taught myself to remember that our media is a money-making industry. Nobody or no corporation is out there trying their best to inform the public about what is going on in our country and around the world without their bottom line in the front of their thought pattern. Yes, Public Radio and TV fit right into that line of thought. Their stars make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year telling us what the corporation deems news-worthy, just like the commercial news outlets in radio, TV, and print.

While not even close to the millions TV commentators are paid or the reported $38 million Rush Limbaugh makes a year, those on NPR are not doing badly:

"The hosts of Morning Edition, Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep, received compensation of $405,140 and $356,499, respectively. All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel earned $358,653, while Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon got $364,465, according to NPR's latest 990 form."

The news industry is not only information, but also entertainment, and that is why ratings are so important. Higher ratings equal higher advertising income which then translates to higher salaries.

How do you get higher ratings? You tell the public what you believe they want to hear. NBC, ABC, and CBS I believe are into feel good fluff, while Fox and MSNBC and CNN are hard core for the right or left of the political spectrum. Some local channels and newspapers push crime while others push happy community feel-good reports. Whatever the corporation who owns them thinks will increase readership or viewer numbers — that is what they report. Would you trust a person to be truthful when his income is tied to what he tells you?

So, who are you going to trust? Most people trust their loved ones and many trust their religious leader or their Bible or Book of Mormon or the Koran. Some people trust the police while others distrust them.

How do you decide who to trust? It's complicated. You can go with what others tell you about something like a car, or you can trust your own experience or just go with your gut as they say. Long-term relationships with loved ones give you a track record that builds a foundation that will allow you to trust them more than others. Repeated experience with a product or a person allows you to feel a higher level of trust for them.

Products are easy, while people are complex. A product is either dependable, that bridge has kept you out of the river for decades, or undependable, as you keep pulling away on that cord until you are exhausted trying to start that lawn mower. The air conditioning repair man who you have trusted for years has fallen off the wagon and leaves you sweltering in a hot house while he sits in the bar, but that car mechanic decides to come out to your house and he gets your car going, thus saving you a tow bill. Trust is built, it just doesn't happen.

So, when you think of trust, you should also think about how others trust you - your opinion, your work ethic, and your honesty. If people feel they can trust you, they are more likely to want to make you trust them.

Trust it can come and trust can go, but once gone, it ain't coming back.

So when it comes right down to it, Washington has destroyed my trust in many things, but I still trust my God, my wife, my children, and some close friends, and that is about all the trust I really need. I do however still have some weird thoughts about bridges, and many times say a quick prayer before crossing.

Post Script

I used President Obama as my example of politicians and trust, but the truth is it has been a long, long time since I have trusted an American president after he has been in office for a while. Obama kills children, Bush W. lied us into a war, Clinton lied about lots of things including sex with young women who worked for him. Then there is "Read my Lips" the first Bush President, and with Reagan, I never knew if he was quoting from a past movie or was just in an early stage of dementia. LBJ? LBJ got me to sign up to defend our country against a country (Vietnam) who never attacked us nor ever had the means to attack us. His lie cost over 58,000 American lives and over 1,000,000 Vietnamese lives.

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