I recently read an excellent article about how the ever-growing lack of trust in public institutions, governments and experts included, is generating aberrations like Donald Trump becoming the darling of a sizable proportion of the American Republicans.

collapse of trust in institutions

I’m afraid that all of us have contributed to this.

People who get elected to power use it to fulfill  their own goals yet continue to get elected despite the fact that many of those goals do not add anything to – and too many times even subtract from – the general well being.
People who, for various reasons, vote for those mentioned above.
Media pundits who fill the airtime with their versions of the reality, purposefully crafted to fit their own goals instead of honestly trying to present to the public what they have seen/understood of what had happened.

What’s bothering me most is that all of them are behaving in an absolutely ‘rational’ manner.
In the sense that all of them are convinced they are following the current mantra.
“Make the best of the opportunities at hand”

Given the current ethos – that only the pussies do not grab everything within their reach – each of those in places where they might be given things would act foolishly not to accept those ‘gifts’. If they might find a ‘legal’ way to do it.
And the Supreme Court of the US concurs.

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

“There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. “But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.””

What happened was that former Gov. Bob Mc Donnell had accepted various gifts from a certain business man called Williams and then (because of them?) ‘set up meetings, hosted parties and called Virginia officials to discuss  a series of meetings to discuss aspects   related to William’s businesses.

Now, is this an example of corrupt behavior or not?

According to the Government and to the lower courts that have sat on this matter, it is.
According to the Supreme Court, it is ‘distasteful and even possibly more than that’ but not yet corruption. Or, at least, not in the way the Government has presented its case.

“But conscientious public officials arrange meetings for constituents, contact other officials on their behalf, and include them in events all the time. The basic compact underlying representative government assumes that public officials will hear from their constituents and act appropriately on their concerns — whether it is the union official worried about a plant closing or the homeowners who wonder why it took five days to restore power to their neighborhood after a storm. The Government’s position could cast a pall of potential prosecution over these relationships if the union had given a campaign contribution in the past or the homeowners invited the official to join them on their annual outing to the ballgame. Officials might wonder whether they could respond to even the most commonplace requests for assistance, and citizens with legitimate concerns might shrink from participating in democratic discourse.” Chief Justice John Roberts writing on behalf of the court.

The way I see it this is nothing but ‘hiding behind technicalities’.
From a formal point of view the Supreme Court’s decision is absolutely correct.
On the other hand almost everybody speaks out, some very vehemently, against ‘pork barrel politics’.

Yet nobody does anything when occasion arises. Forgetting that this is exactly what we, humans, are supposed to do. Make decisions and assume responsibility for them. Otherwise, if we only look out for pretexts to do nothing when those around us keep making ‘good’ use of whatever opportunities they identify, the whole world will soon become, again, encased in the kind of straight jacket Hitler and Stalin were trying to put on us.

Here’s another example.

Less than a fortnight from now the Republican and the Democratic conventions will likely nominate Trump and Clinton as their respective presidential candidates. Each passionately defended by their followers and viciously attacked by their adversaries.
Yet both almost equally disdained by the general public.

“More time on the campaign trail isn’t improving the image of either major-party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
Some 60% of registered voters held a negative view of Mr. Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, compared with 58% in May. Some 29% viewed Mr. Trump positively this month.
Mrs. Clinton, the former secretary of state and presumed Democratic nominee, fared somewhat better, with 55% viewing her in a negative light, compared with 54% in May. One-third of registered voters held a positive view of her.” (Peter Nicholas in Wall Street Journal, June 27 2016)

What’s going on here?
Why has any of them been picked up as candidate in the first place?

And why none of their detractors mentions the trait of character that both of them have in common?

The complete disrespect both of them have for ‘comme il faut’.
You see, ‘properly’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘being a stickler for the word of the law’ but certainly means following the ‘spirit of the law’.
You’d expect as much from the two contenders for the Oval Office, don’t you?

Yet Donald Trump has a history of trying to use the law in order to drive an old woman out of her house so that he could have build a parking lot for one of his casinos while Clinton is being currently investigated for the highly irregular manner in which she used to manage  her e-mails when she served as Secretary of State.

To me this is a pertinent enough explanation for why a majority of the people do not trust that any of them would have ‘the better interests of the country’ in mind if and when any of them will be elected to office.

Making a step further people might soon develop a distrust for the whole concept of democracy – simply because the system was unable to deliver better candidates/alternatives. Not only in America.

And since the idea of democracy starts with trusting your fellow citizen to be able to make pertinent decisions – even if they happen to be contrary to your own ideas on the matter – it is highly likely that we’ll soon live in a very untruthful world.

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