In Mistrust We Trust
Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders?
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A recent Gallup poll listed the least-trusted professions in America. At the bottom of the list: car salesmen and members of Congress. It's not hard to understand why our politicians rate so poorly — scandals, myopia, obstinence, party loyalty over common good, fiscal cliffs. All have left voters exasperated and confused. But while confidence in our elected leaders has never been lower, we cling to the belief that democracies represent they epitome of societal and political organization. Why? In his provocative book In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders, political commentator Ivan Krastev explores this incongruity between our head and our heart. There has been a profound decline of the public’s trust in the performance of public institutions, he notes, which is an outcome of the voters’ sense of their lost power. Tech tools may help provide some openness to the machinations of the political machine, but they may just be putting a band-aid on an open wound. Ultimately, Krastev ponders whether we can enjoy the many rights of our society, without enjoying real political choice or power. Simply put: can democracy survive without trust?