President Michael Roth has apparently joined Arianna Huffington’s complex social network, as a blogger on Huffington Post. How did this come about? Do they have a Blackberry connection from some West Coast dinner party?
He writes about our shaken trust in the financial and political institutions of America:
It’s a cliché that trust is a lot easier to destroy than it is to build. When children tell us that this time they are telling the truth, and that they lie only some of the time, they are about to learn that even one lie destroys the credibility of all your other statements — even when these other claims are true. One lie creates general uncertainty. We are seeing this everyday on Wall Street and in the banking sector. Governments are desperately trying to restore trust, but as long as there is lingering (and, I might add, reasonable) uncertainty about who is holding the bad debts they once tried to profit from, it will be impossible to have the basic trust that makes our credit systems work.
…The cure for the erosion of trust is not medicinal; it’s social. Participation builds trust. On the university campus where I work, the only ways I’ve seen trust successfully restored is to involve people once again in whatever activity they’d become uncertain about. From athletics to music, from lab science to poetry workshops, participation reduces uncertainty and builds faith through practice. When you begin again to seek or offer credit in secure ways, when investments can be protected, then you feel prepared to take a few new risks. When you get involved with your fellow-citizens in a political campaign or make your voice heard with your neighbors, you begin to see that democracy isn’t only about attack. Democracy is about participating with people who you grow to trust by working together.
Teachers know this. We have to earn the trust of our students everyday so that they can risk making mistakes, so that they can take the chance to open themselves to learning. That’s why we encourage the participation of our students.
Our current, acute crisis of confidence will pass. Then we must rebuild trust by participating in our economy and polity rather than just try to tear down others who are doing so.
A lot of people read the Huffington Post!
Huffington Post: “Trust” in the Economy and Electoral Politics