Friday, August 9, 2013

Trust Me: The Two Most Fatal Words In Politics

Our Government

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
Thomas Paine 

Meet Mr. Nobody: President Barack Obama says about the NSA: “I think it’s important to understand
that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.
We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.” We, in this case, does not include the American
electorate, but the tiniest sliver of the political elites. As is common with authoritarian regimes,
the Leader ignores the will of the People and alone decides what the people need, thus enacting laws
that benefit the few.
Photo Credit & Source: Common SenseEvaluation

When leaders are caught doing something controversial or illegal or immoral, they often invoke the most-used words in politics: “Trust Me.” Such was the case in June when the NSA Scandal broke, and U.S. President Obama said these two oft-used words, Trust Me, as if it would magically downplay the outrage that Americans felt at being spied on by their own government—an illegal activity if there ever was one.

Further revelations of illegal espionage activities since then only added to the insults heaped on the American public and the world, proving that such trust was ill-advised if not foolish. Obama’s words have had no mollifying or soothing effect; and poll results confirm that the majority of Americans surveyed do not agree with mass surveillance. What rational person would?

Here’s what Obama said on the campaign trail about the Bush Administration, before being elected president, in 2007:
This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand… That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists… We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.
Undoubtedly, his views have changed; yet he failed to tell the electorate this was the case when he was campaigning for higher office four years later. Obama is not alone in practicing the art of deception; he follows a long tradition in America of presidents playing with the truth. True, it’s not unusual for politicians to lie, an expected weakness of power-hungry individuals who think deception is necessary, but this one is of a different scale, of a different magnitude than many others. I believe it’s called a whopper, and I do not mean the fast-food variety.

And it’s not only an American problem. The U.S. president is not alone in thinking deception and lying are necessary in politics; most, if not all, world leaders lie to their citizens. Some more than others. And such explains the problem of why citizens are skeptical if not outright cynical of politicians. Trust involves more than invoking a phrase or having a sincere look and smile on the lips; such things are essentially meaningless if the person saying the words has broken the trusting relationship. And the more breaks in the relationship the lower the level of trust.

Politicians as a group are not trusted; and this poll result has been consistently going down for decades.[see here, here & here]. Can anyone not understand or doubt the reasons why this is so?

If anything, politicians have themselves to blame, as a group they are neither trustworthy nor honest. They lie so often about so many things that they likely can’t see the difference between a fact and a lie. It’s not the body politic that needs changing, it’s the political leaders who do. That includes the political elites in Washington, Ottawa, London, Paris, Rome and Jerusalem, to name only a few places where the leaders and the public are far apart. Many miles apart.

Government, for the most part, has become intolerable. If politicians want to regain trust, they have to work hard to get it. They could start with forgetting about receiving large campaign donations from transnational and multinational corporations; they could forget about thinking themselves superior—they’re not—; they could forget about listening only to highly paid and connected lobbyists and they could start listening to what the majority of their constituents want—yes, the little people who form the majority. And most of all, look yourself in the mirror, and admit that you have been lying to the electorate—including those that put you in office—for years.

Quit the Liars’ Club; and Join the Human Race.

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