Saturday, January 14, 2017

Not Trusting Our Institutions: How Did We Get Here?

Former Reagan White House official and one-time nominee for Labor Secretary (she withdrew after it was discovered she employed an undocumented worker) Linda Chavez has an opinion piece The Most Worrisome Effect of Russia's Election Meddling in the New York Post arguing that the worst aspect of Russian meddling in the recent presidential election is the erosion of public trust in our democratic institutions.In conclusion, Chavez makes what seems to me to be a a very reasonable point:

"Democracy can only exist as long as the people trust its institutions. The greatest calamity of this election cycle has been the weakening of that trust" - Linda Chavez.

Team Putin appears to have succeeded in hacking American (and world) confidence in its own election process, its intelligence agencies, and its freedom of the press. They didn't accomplish this on their own, however. They've had some help along the way, such as:

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." - Ronald Reagan

One thing seems clear: when each of our major political parties is in power, they call for trust. When they are out of power they attack the other side in increasingly bitter and nefarious ways.

In the present crisis, partisanship is not the solution to our problem; partisanship is the problem.

How do we fix it?

1. Start by recognizing both sides, Republicans and Democrats, are complicit in problems facing ordinary Americans.

2. Read and listen to a variety of news sources, i.e., consider other opinions that do not conform to our own biases.

3. Engage in constructive change activities. Don't tune out and drop out.

4. Keep calm; keep working.

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