Friday, February 10, 2023

Who Do You Trust? America's Confidence in Government

I admit that I didn't watch President Biden's "State of the Union Address" on Tuesday. Frankly, I didn't care. Now, it's not that I don't care about what's happening in America or elsewhere in the world. Far from it. I am very concerned about what is happening around the world and here at home in the U.S..

It's just that I'm not interested in hearing the lies and watching the antics coming from both sides. This is not what I expect from people who are suppose to be educated and elected to serve the American People. I see two camps having more in common with the faux-gang "Jets" and "Sharks" from the West Side Story than the likes of Jefferson, Washington, or Lincoln!

The lack of respect and civility is not linked to one party (although the media would like for you to think so). It's both parties and it's been going on for far too long now. They act like spoiled children on a school playground, or worse, like some cheap "reality" TV show (the "Kardashians" come to mind).

It illustrates the near total breakdown of our the political system into two extremist camps. America is no longer the Republic it was intended. It's a neo-fascist Corporatocracy run by an Oligarchy. The rest is all kabuki theater with the corporate media acting as the chorus or narrator from ancient Greek plays, directing our attention from one actor to another and editorializing the scene with their comments.

I know that I'm not the only person who feels this way.  Based on several polls, most Americans overall have little or no trust in the media. In a Gallup Poll from October 2022, only about 34% say they had a "great or fair amount of trust" in the media. In a poll conducted in 1976, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and Watergate, that number was 72%.

That same poll showed that over one third (38%) of Americans had absolutely no trust in the media at all. By comparison, that figure was just 4% in 1976. Today, 28% currently acknowledged having  confidence in the media.

It's worth noting that those who do trust the media the most tend to be Democrats (70%). Those who trust it the least are Republicans and conservatives (86%). Independents (the nation's largest political bloc) have a pretty low feeling about the media too (73%).

Given that freedom of speech, expression, and assembly are listed first among our list of freedoms, that's significant. It impacts our core as a nation, but should we be surprised? After all,  America is no longer a Republic. It's a corporatocracy, meaning that it's our political institutions, economy and judicial system exist to represent corporate interests, not that of the American People.

As an aside, a corporatocracy is not "Communist" or "socialist" (unless you're referring to "corporate socialism" or "corporate welfare"). It is, by definition, a form of fascism. This fits in rather neatly with our surveillance state. Those who run this corporatocracy are members of the top 1% percent or so, commonly referred to as a oligarchy or kleptocracy.

So, when we look at the news media, what we see is the product of just five corporations. That's right. Just five corporations control 96+% of everything we read, hear, and watch. That includes not just the news and its content, but television programs we watch, the movies we see, the video games we play, many of the books selected for mass publication as well as majority of the magazines and newspapers out there not to mention the radio stations we listen too.

This control extends naturally to government where it has formed a sinister symbiotic relationship of sorts. Corporations underwrite the funding of both political parties and individual campaigns. They influence who gets what committee assignments or the backing needed to run for which office.

Their lobbyists not just review bills, but also provide summaries and make "recommendations" to the appropriate individuals on how to vote, but often write the legislation. Through their connections with the media, they can affect public opinion. As an aside, as of 2023, there are 12,096 registered lobbyists to lobby Congress. None of them are there on your behalf.

In a separate Gallup poll from October 2022, they include some interesting numbers about confidence in the three branches of government---Executive, Judicial, and Legislative. According to the poll, only 43% of Americans have any trust in the Executive branch irrespective of who is occupying it.

38% of voters say they have any confidence in the Legislative branch (the Senate and House of Representatives) regardless of which of the two corporate parties are in control. That's not really surprising since the approval rating for both branches of Congress have been in the proverbial toilet for decades (in recent years, the approval numbers have been as low as 9%).

What's is surprising, however, is the trust that voters place in the Judicial branch. Historically, most Americans trusted the judicial system. It seemed to be exempt from the public's contempt of the other two branches. Not anymore. Ever since the Supreme Court's dual bungling of Citizens United and Roe v Wade, their numbers have taken a nose dive. The poll showed that just 47% of Americans had any faith in the Judicial branch.

Ironically, when it came to state and local governments, there was a dramatic turnabout. According to the poll, 57% of those surveyed trusted their state government while 67% trusted their local government. Perhaps this shouldn't be too surprising since American was intended to have a weak federal government while state and local governments were to be stronger, reflecting their closeness to the people. Apparently most Americans still feel the same way.

When we look at "trust" by political division, we get a glimpse of the nation's schism. When asked if they had a "great deal or fair amount of trust" in the Executive branch as an institution,  86% of Democrats said yes. 43% of Independents agreed, but just 7% of Republicans/Conservatives went along.

When asked the same question about the Legislative branch, there was a similar response. 54% said they did. However, only 36% of Independents had any faith in the Legislative branch while only 25% of Republicans/Conservatives. did.

In looking at the Judicial branch, we had a reversal. 67% of Republicans/Conservatives trusted the nation's legal system (perhaps a reflection of the Supreme Court's decision regarding Roe v. Wade). Yet, despite overwhelming support from the Right, just 25% of Democrats had any confidence in the Judicial system. Meanwhile, the majority Independents have only a 46%  rate of trust.  

As an aside, our currency is suppose to be backed solely on the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. Government. Kind of makes you wonder what happens next when the majority of Americans have no or little faith in a federal government which is  $31 trillion dollars in debt doesn't it?  

When the question turned to local and state governments, we got a rare agreement among the three primary political factions. When asked about having trust in state government, 64% of Democrats said they did. So did 56% of Republicans/Conservatives and 54% of Independents.

What about local government? Well, again there was some cross agreement. 73% of Democrats, 70% of Republican/Conservatives, and 61% of Independents agreed that they trusted in local government.  

So, what does this mean? The responses appear to indicate what many of us suspected. The federal government and its control by Wall Street is the primary problem. We want a government which is closer to us where we can have more input and control (not unlike what our Founding Fathers wanted too). We also don't like the control of information we currently see. We just want to be given the unvarnished facts.  

Lastly, with the majority of Americans having left the two Wall Street parties, the American voter has made it abundantly clear what they thought about all the partisan incompetence, petty bickering, corruption, media bias, and election rigging. 

It appears that nearly everything happening in Washington is the antithesis of what it means to be an American.  So, now when we talk about where the fundamental changes in our corrupt political system need to be made first, perhaps this gives us a starting point.


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Trustin Federal Government Branches Continue to Falter


American Dystopia

Americans' Trust in Media Remains Near Record Low


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