A reason for mistrust

Published 12:57 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Public trust in federal government remains at historic lows. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017 only 18 percent of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington, D.C., to do what is right — 3 percent said “just about always” and 15 percent said “most of the time.” The sentiment for the federal government should be just as easily translated to lower level governments. But according to a 2016 Gallup poll, Americans trust local government, which sat at 71 percent, more than state government, which sat at 62 percent.

“For the past 15 years, Americans have expressed more confidence in their local government than their state government to handle problems,” officials cited in the September 2016 Gallup news article. “Similar to polls since 2013, about seven in 10 say they have a ‘great deal’ or a ‘fair amount’ of trust in local government to handle problems, compared with about six in 10 who say the same for their state government.”

Any government that does not operate in an open fashion should not be trusted. The operations a government keeps in the dark not only can lead to further corruption but, in doing so, can lead to mishandling of taxpayer dollars and result in the trampling of citizens’ liberties. It could also be argued that those in public office who have been seen to have handled things inappropriately in other sectors of their life, namely their professional pursuits, could just as well do so in their capacity as a public official. Don’t trust local public officials just because they are your neighbors. Trust them because of their track record. Trust them because of demonstrated transparency.