I had just read Ari Rabin-Havt's book "Lies, Incorporated" for class, and I've never been so angry with a book's content. The book is about how legislation on issues like healthcare, abortion and same-sex marriage were hindered by organized misinformation; lies created to further political agendas or to keep the status quo. It's infuriating to read. Some of the lies spread range from silly to downright insulting and have delayed progress on important matters. While the book can be incredibly liberal at times, it's still a great read for anyone who wants to see how some of the weirdest conspiracies in politics came about, and why politicians say the dumb stuff they say.
This book, however, left me with a lot of trust issues. Well, what was left of it, anyway. With all that has happened these last few months, with Trump's election and the firestorm that followed, we, as Americans, have been left confused and frazzled. Nothing is as we expected, and yet it is exactly what should have been expected. We can't trust our government anymore, since everyone works for president Trump, and there is always a controversial topic making the headlines every day. This is a scary time, where we don't know what's going to happen next or who we can trust.
Maybe this is just a normal part of society. During wartime, civilians would believe whatever the government said about the enemy, making them out to be killers or monsters in order to keep the support and morale of the people high. Nazi Germany was especially guilty of this, creating chaos by blaming everything on the Jews. Of course, the U.S. wasn't innocent either. We slapped horrendous labels on Japanese-Americans, leading to their imprisonment in internment camps. The government kept a lot of secrets from the public over the last century, from how badly we were doing in the Vietnam War, to Nixon's lies during the Watergate scandal. But in those times, it was the press that broke the news — that uncovered the truth. While the press is starting to get a brutal wake-up call after Trump's vitriol attack on the media, it still doesn't feel like enough.
Even in our normal, everyday lives, it's hard to know what is happening or who to trust. It can be hard to trust even the people just walking down the street. What if that guy walking down the sideway jumps me because I'm a woman? What if that policeman tries to shoot me because of my color? What if those ladies judge my appearance because I'm transgender? Maybe that sounds like paranoia talking, but they can be legitimate threats to certain people. If it's hard to trust even the people in our neighborhood, who is to say we can't trust our federal government?
We want to trust others. We want to be safe and happy in our country. We want to be able to walk down the street without a care in the world. But right now, it doesn't feel like you can. It feels like it's just you vs the world. But I hope that maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you can think of a list of people who you can go to for anything. People that you can trust without worrying about them stabbing you in the back, or telling misinformation about you and your government laws. I hope you have people that you can trust. I know people who don't.
Either way, I hope we as a nation haven't lost our ability to trust. It would be terrible if we were all suspicious of each other all the time. It takes up too much energy. We have better things to do like save the environment or figure out what to do about this healthcare situation. Let's do our best to push the paranoia aside and try to believe in each other. Let's just try trusting again.