Once gone, trust is difficult to build | COMMENTARY

“… so few people trust [Trump], how can he govern effectively over the next four years?”

How important is trust to you?

It is very important to me. At one point in my life, I discovered that a person I trusted completely had lied to me. Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to restore.

When boundaries are breached by lies, we have difficulty knowing when the person who lied was telling the truth, and when we were being lied to. It doesn’t matter how big or small the issue, doubts are created about every decision point that arises after that.

During last year’s presidential elections, both candidates accused the other of lying and of being self-serving, using their power to enrich themselves or their organizations.

Why do political candidates, no matter the level of government, accuse their opponents of lying or misrepresenting themselves? The answer comes from the same personal issue I noted above. If a person can be convinced that a candidate is untrustworthy, then the boundaries of that person’s promises are split wide open.

Trust is absolutely essential for government to properly function. Trust is also necessary between opposing political parties. Both parties have to believe that while their opponents have different worldviews, their concern for the good of the nation as a whole is foremost.

Unfortunately, we are living in an era of extreme partisanship. Political parties seem to have taken the tendencies of religious organizations where any deviation from doctrine is viewed as political heresy. Party loyalty has become more important than patriotism and concern for the common good. Any party member who consorts with the “enemy” is punished as being disloyal and therefore is untrustworthy.

A recent, local example came earlier this month where the state senator position of Pam Roach came open due to her election to the Pierce County Council. Since she is Republican, her position was offered to Republicans. One was state Rep. Drew Stokesbary, 31st District, and another was newly-elected state Rep. Phil Fortunato, who replaced retiring Rep. Chris Hurst.

Republicans destroyed Stokesbary’s senatorial candidacy because he had been “disloyal” since he had voted for the Sound Transit bond issue for mass transit, while Fortunato had remained “loyal,” opposing the bond issue. Fortunato was deemed trustworthy by Republican standards because he opposed any tax increases, even if determined by public vote. Unfortunately, such Draconian behavior diminished even further my trust of the Republicans.

Trust has also been an issue with the potential rollback of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare). The issue itself is not my concern here; the issue with trust comes with our new president. His representative promised that a new healthcare program could be passed that was better and cheaper than Obamacare. Cheaper for whom — the state or the federal government? Also, if such a plan exists, why wasn’t it discussed during the presidential campaign?

Both presidential candidates lied, but Donald Trump lied on a far larger scale. His public approval rating, sitting at 43 percent, attests to that deep lack of trust.

How can any new president overcome that level of distrust engendered by the recent political campaign and by his own contradictory and inflammatory words? I have hopes that I am wrong, and that President Trump will do a hat trick, transforming himself from the caricature of a self-serving narcissist to a thoughtful, self-controlled statesman. I wish our new president all the best as he sets out to serve this great nation, but there is this sense of foreboding deep in the pit of my stomach.

Part of my concern goes back to the betrayal I endured in my own life. Trust, once lost, is very difficult to restore. The problem our president has is that since so few people trust him, how can he govern effectively over the next four years?


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Valley police chiefs of King County release unified message in response to death of George Floyd

Police chiefs of Des Moines, Tukwila, Renton, Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Algona, Pacific, Black Diamond and the Port of Seattle pledge to stand with communities.

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

Ardra Arwin.
‘Let’s not go out and play!’

A poem by Renton resident Ardra Arwin, age 8

How using a face mask to cover my Asian face could put me in danger

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Catch each other during this fall

How we can use the quarantine to reflect on necessary social changes

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of March 13

Reader worries about the county’s reach Dear editor, The article regarding King… Continue reading