Here To Help?
Fewer phrases bring more eye-rolling than “I’m with the government and I’m here to help.” Before we get to any current issues, it’s important to realize that suspicion of authority is at the very root of our nation.
With the exception of the original inhabitants, almost every movement of peoples can be traced to a desire to get away from oppression of one sort or another. Pilgrims, Quakers, and other religious refugees formed most of New England. Economic refugees came here from all over Europe and elsewhere. Following the Civil War, emancipated slaves fled northward in a great diaspora. Today half of Central America heads for our southern border to escape poverty and repression at home
As each group arrived here, their mistrust of government stayed with them, often with good reason. Our own leaders have their share of the blame, from Reconstruction to Jim Crow laws to the Japanese internment during WWII just to mention a few cases.
So it’s no surprise we see such a tremendous trust gap between whoever’s in charge and the rest of us. Reagan, Bush, Trump all terrified Democrats, while Clinton, Obama, and Biden bring derision from Republicans. Often with good reason.
These days the conflicts are magnified by print and social media more interested in selling content than serving the public. I’d argue that the public in general has gotten lazier, content to be fed whatever confirms their own belief system than trying to think for themselves.
The original theme of this column was “civil discourse.” Never has it been more needed.
Here To Help?