THE POST OFFICE – Along with other paranoid/cynics, I am personally delivering my ballot to the post office. But will it be counted? Maybe the deep state takes all the Trump ballots and shreds them. But then we have QAnon, the pro-Trumpsters who may be shredding all the Biden votes. Either way, dropping off my ballot at a United States Postal Service station is risky. And I certainly can’t trust my postal carrier any more to deliver my ballot to the proper destination. She does have a sneaky look about her, not to mention sporting that “Vote” button. For years I trusted the postal service, but now we are told the USPS is cutting back on deliveries, taking sorting machines off line and generally wrecking Benjamin Franklin’s 245-year-old baby. President Trump says we can no longer trust the post office, and he never lies.
This is one small example of a change in our lifestyles. Today every person, group and system is under suspicion. The FBI used to be a bulwark of honesty and integrity. Now we find the FBI is investigating itself because its agents may have tried to lie, tamper with evidence and mislead America. President Trump has said time and again that he can’t trust our intelligence agencies. Indeed, at the Helsinki conference with his best buddy, Vladimir Putin, our President said he trusted Putin more than his own intelligence agencies, and well he should. The IRS can’t be counted on to accurately tax some among us. Just ask Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, who told how Trump cheated on his taxes by the millions and the IRS never found out. The Justice Dept.? Oh, come on. Atty. Gen. William Barr is always firing incompetents and running off lawyers who keep digging up so-called “dirt” on friends of the President. It’s gotten so bad that pardons have to be issued to these poor innocent souls.
Whom can we trust? First, never trust anyone who says “whom.” Today we can’t trust anyone. So paranoia and cynicism are spreading faster than Covid-19. The obvious bad example is the fake news shoveled to us by “America’s enemy,” the press. A Gallup survey found overall 41 percent currently have “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in newspapers, television and radio to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” Although trust in the media is down this year, it beats the record low of 32 percent in 2016. Republicans’ lead the way in not trusting our media: only15 percent of Republicans say they have trust and confidence in the media compared to 69 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independents. Recent Gallup data also shows that Republicans’ trust in most specific news sources in recent years has stagnated or declined, while Democrats’ has risen. Guess what? Fox News is the only national news source that a majority of Republicans trust, while a majority of Democrats trust the six national news sources. Last year’s Gallup/Knight Foundation surveys found that Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to think they found bias, inaccuracy and misinformation in newspapers, on television and on radio.
But what about other pursuits? Gallup surveyed Americans about honesty and ethical standards in the workplace in late December. Maybe it’s the Covit-19 curse, but we trust our medical professions. Nurses are top of the honesty league and they have been there for 17 years in succession, with 84 percent of Americans rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as high or very high. Doctors and pharmacists also did well with 67 and 66 percent placing a high level of trust in each profession respectively. High school teachers finished next. Despite “Defund the Cops” marches, 54 percent of Americans still view police officers as being honest and ethical while 13 percent gave them a low rating.
Accountants and the clergy are next. Then come the fake newsers. Americans feel very strongly about journalists – both ways. They either trust or don’t trust them a lot. I guess it depends on your politics. At the bottom are business executives, car salespeople and, to no one’s surprise, members of Congress, with 58 percent of us having a low or very low opinion of their honesty and integrity and only 8 percent giving them a high or very high marks. We need to meet that 8 percent. I think they’re members of Congress. We can’t trust our scientists and researchers. Less than half of Republicans (47 percent) say they would take a Covit-19 vaccine but 81 percent of Democrats would, according to a poll by Gallup.
Here’s a little side note. In 1957 there was an afternoon game show, “Who Do You Trust?” It was emceed by a little-known comic and his sidekick: Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon, who were never heard from again. “Trust but verify,” is a rhyming Russian proverb, but became an internationally known phrase in English when President Ronald Reagan used it on several occasions when discussing nuclear disarmament with the Soviet Union. He didn’t trust the Ruskies, but how do others see us as a trusting nation? Trust in the United States has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2016, the sharpest drop of any country assessed in the 2020 Best Countries report from US News & World Report, an annual global survey of more than 20,000 people in 36 countries, including in the U.S. What happened to us since 2016? We fell to Number 24 of the 73 countries assessed, just behind Number 23 Greece and barely ahead of Number 25 Israel. Finishing in first place was Canada with 100 percent trustfulness. It was followed in trustworthiness by Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Good Lord, we finished behind 23 other nations in being trusted. At the very bottom was Kenya then Serbia and Belarus.
“In God We Trust” is the official motto of the United States of America. But verify.
You can trust Ashby at firstname.lastname@example.org