SHOULD WE TRUST OUR GOVERNMENT?
This seems like a legitimate question to ask, but one that I am not sure I or anyone else has a good answer to. I have long since discovered that the politicians who represent me are pretty much great, but the ones who represent you, well maybe not so much. I do think it is safe to say that there is a growing number of people in this country who do not trust their government, especially on a federal level. So, I have to raise the point again and ask, should we trust our government?
NPR has a good story from All Things Considered last evening that touches on this very topic. In it, they cite a Pew Research Center poll that says only 22% of all Americans say they trust their government. By my count, that leaves 78% of all Americans who do not trust their government, especially on a federal level. Am I the only one who finds these numbers disturbing?
When you look back on the past decade, you can see only one time when the level of distrust was lower than this. That was during the last days of the George W. Bush administration and admittedly, a lot of it was deserved. Rightly or wrongly, the American people felt that they had been lied to about the Iraq war and most of that distrust was aimed squarely at Bush himself, along with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. To be honest, it’s hard to argue against how the American people felt at that time, although the level of hatred and vitriol directed at them was a bit harsh.
When Barack Obama took office, a large portion of the American people watched with great hope, thinking that he would be able to change the way Washington worked. After a year in office, it is clear that Washington is still working as it usually does. The blame for the President’s failure to instigate that change rests in more than one place, but some of it has to fall at Obama’s own feet. His party, which is the party of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, did not help matters in the least.
I have looked at this as honestly as I know how and I feel Barack Obama came into office thinking that as President, he would be able to affect many more changes than he was actually able to affect. He was a bit naive to think so, but I suspect he isn’t the first man to move into the White House and suddenly discover that his was not an easy task. Part of his problem has been that he has moved very fast with a lot of his agenda, especially when it comes to health care reform.
Part of the distrust that is now leveled at the Obama administration has to be blamed on the way the health care legislation was rammed through Congress. Also, consider how said health care legislation is going to be implemented and the mandate enforced. The enforcement is to rest solely with the most hated and distrusted government agency in our country, namely, the Internal Revenue Service. That alone is enough to make me want to run as far away as possible.
The distrust of the Bush White House arose from the feeling that the American people had been lied to, as I have already alluded. The distrust that is now arising against the Obama White House comes in large part from the feeling that the American people have just had an unconstitutional mandate pressed upon them by a government that has refused to listen to it’s own people. Put the IRS into the mix and is it any wonder that the level of distrust is at it’s highest point since the end of the Bush era? I think not.
Looking back on the years that I have followed politics and watched closely how our government works, I have came to one conclusion. It seems to matter not which political party is in power, be it the Republicans or Democrats. Washington seems to never change and until it does, the level of distrust aimed in their direction is going to ebb and flow. Right now, it is mostly ebbing.