Who do you trust?
By RALPH HARDIN
Evening Times Editor I t seems like a simple question, but these days, there is no simple answer.
If you look on your money, it says, “In God We Trust.” That’s a great start, but if we stop and think about it for a minute, do we even do that anymore? In fact, I’ve seen folks worrying about even whether money will even be a thing soon if the mysterious powers that be have their way. In case you haven’t heard, this whole supposed coin shortage is part of some plot to transition us all to a “cashless society” so the flow of wealth can be controlled or something.
When I was a kid, I knew I could trust my parents. To this day, I can’t really think of a time when they did me wrong. But, I know that’s not necessarily true for a lot of people. There are countless cases of parents violating their children’s trust, whether it’s from abuse or manipulation or simply neglecting their parental obligations. It’s sad but true.
What about the news? Longtime CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite was the man who told it to us straight for 20 years, and his straightforward no-spin delivery of the day’s events earned him the title “The Most Trusted Man in America.” We listened to what the man had to say and could trust that he was telling us the truth … not some partisan or network version of the truth. We can’t even come close to that here in 2020. We can’t count on CNN or Fox News or the New York Times or … well, anyone to inform and educate us on what’s going on in the world without having to filter it through whatever their agenda is when it comes to the subject at hand.
Trust is a tough thing to come by. Trust is earned through experience and those experiences can be hard when it comes to trust. We’ve grown accustomed to betrayal and disappointment when someone we thought we could trust turns out to have been deceptive or dishonest or just flat-out lying to us.
Can we trust companies to be fair and honest with us? We always assume, and are usually right, that businesses are after our money first and our satisfaction second. When we find a mechanic or a car dealer or a handyman that we feel like we can trust, we will give them our almost undying loyalty. That’s how strongly we feel about trustworthiness.
A recent list of “most trusted” companies recently came out by some market research web site. Among the most trusted, according to the consumers polled, were Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma, Michelin Tires, Budweiser, Nationwide Insurance and Dodge Motors. Now, I’m sure many of you could tell me some horror story about your experience with one or more of these companies (I, for one, still chuckle at Whole Foods being called out for putting sliced cucumber in a half-gallon jug of water and selling it for $12), but we have to put our trust somewhere.
Do you trust your spouse? I hope so, but there are countless stories of divorce due to abuse, neglect, infidelity or just plain keeping secrets that show trust even among married couples is waning.
Teachers, preachers, doctors, lawyers … all professions with high trust factors but all professions in which you hear about violations of trust on a near-daily basis. And don’t even get me started on politicians.
Professional wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin used to preach the mantra “DTA”… or “Don’t Trust Anyone,” and that’s probably good advice in a profession where your tag-team partner is apt at any time to decide you’re hogging the spotlight and bash you over the head with a steel chair, but the same may as well be true here in the real world, where you have to assume that anytime you hear the phrase, “You can trust me,” you have to assume whoever is saying it has a metaphorical steel chair behind their back.
Perhaps the only person you can really trust is yourself. I say that, though, knowing full well that there are situations and circumstances where I wasn’t able to trust myself either. I’ll tell myself I’m not going to eat this whole sleeve of Chip’s Ahoy cookies or I’ll promise myself I’m going to start exercising or giving more to the church or stop being so sarcastic and I let myself down.
We don’t have Walter Cronkite anymore, so where can we turn? There’s that old hymn “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” and that’s probably the right answer, but when it comes to trusting others here on Earth, if you find someone you truly can trust, hold on to them and, most importantly, let them know they can trust you as well. We all need someone we can trust.
Butt keep an eye out for one of those steel chairs … just in case.