Transitory trust

Dear President Trump,

I don’t watch broadcast evening news and honestly can’t tell you when the last time was that I did, but if I were going to, I’d probably want to tune into ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir after reading the WP article about it and him (by Margaret Sullivan). Yes, I’m more drawn to Rachel Maddow and if I weren’t theoretically restricting myself to broadcast news, I’d probably pick her over Muir, but I really like this quote of his:

“When the pandemic hits is not the time to try to build up trust. It has to be in the works for a long time.”

It’s not earth shattering, rocket-science-y stuff at all – it’s really just basic commonsense buoyed by hefty measures of humility and integrity. And, it’s critically important so I want to spend some time on it today.

Trust doesn’t materialize out of thin air in an instant. It’s built and it’s earned over time. Trust can be lost in an instant never to be regained, but if one has ones’ critical thinking faculties about one, trust is very rarely granted automatically or in an instant. If it is, then it’s usually granted provisionally. In other words, I might be willing to extend someone trust on the word of someone else who I already trust, but the one I’ve newly placed my trust in will have to deliver for me to continue trusting them. If they fail to deliver, particularly if they fail to deliver in a big way, then not only do I withdraw my trust in them, but I also at least question my trust in the source that said the other was trustworthy.

Unless, that is, I have even less trust in myself, in which case I’m apt to question myself and my take on reality, in which case I’m at risk of continuing to misplace my trust.

This is what you all are counting on, isn’t it? You, the Fox & Friends propaganda experts you’re in cahoots with, along with much of the GOP – you all have established a system wherein you prop one another up by repeating bogus claims and lies to establish a surround sound wall of bullshit that seems indisputable even when reality is knocking people around with contradictory evidence. I’ve railed at you for years now about your gaslighting, manipulations, and distracting shell games so clearly this isn’t new ground, but I’m feeling compelled to revisit these dynamics because they’re currently so high stakes, so life and death. Many of us are desperately pushing on the return “to normal” button as if it were a recalcitrant walk button; we’re banging the shit out of it wanting it to turn NOW even if conditions aren’t safe. And you and yours are egging them on.

Apparently you all have decided that encouraging people to return to their pre-covid ways before we have any of the needed safeguards are in place is worth the gamble both with citizens’ lives and with your base’s trust. I get that you all have your roles and your lines down pat, but don’t you see that if your base peeps who are rallying and ignoring physical distancing public health guidance start getting sick and dying in droves the transitory trust you all have built up over the years could fall apart? Or do you think you have a bullet proof way of mesmerizing people so that even if bunches of them start dying the ones who make it through alive will convince themselves that their dead friends and family members martyred themselves for the liberation cause and it’s all good? Is that the plan? That would keep the propaganda machine rocking, wouldn’t it? I imagine you’re banking on this along with some well-timed, well-placed boosts from Vladimir’s propaganda machine so you can keep the democracy shredding party rolling.

May we be safe from untrustworthy leaders.
May we be willing to let those who’ve been bamboozled save face when they wake up.
May we hold out for strong, healthy leaders who earn our trust.
May we accept that some certain liars need to be shipped to their very own far away island.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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