A year end summary. It's required from all media. A list is always preferred. Polls about how people feel about a list is especially nice. So here is my summary. It starts off as a bummer but ends on a bright note.
2013: The Year Trust Died
There is even a poll that somewhat proves trust is dead. Well, not dead, but dying. The percentage of people who trust their fellow man is at an all time low. Two out of three people don't trust the person sitting next to them. 2/3 are not trusting. That is up from one half some 40 years ago.
And why do we doubt each other? Well, Congress has a 9% approval rating. Certain legislators would certainly filibuster their own stays of execution, especially if Obama supported the bill. Global warming is being debated. Because we can't trust anybody on this issue, obviously.
Some mistrust science. Not sure why science has become so politicized. Oh wait, I do know why and so do you.
Media have not helped the trust issue.. We can't even trust our most venerated institutions.
60 Minutes screwed up this year. Apparently, a very adventuresome reporter with great personal demographics didn't check her source's credibility. One of the most central tenets of journalism is to check your sources. Lara Logan and her producers failed. And now we can't even trust the program CBS built into one of the few last vestiges of traditional journalism.
So we don't trust the media that much anymore. FOX and MSNBC help with the mistrust telling us who not to trust but who to offer our full time hate to.
That we don't trust the media that much anymore probably comes from the media not trusting us. The media collectively think we're shallow, attention-deficit people with the collective IQ of a pop up toaster. Proof? When one of our greatest humans died, Nelson Mendela, his funeral was covered. We didn't hear the impassioned pleas of world leaders and South Africans to use the great man as a role model. We did hear that during this meeting of world leaders celebrating one of the unifying forces of all time that our President shook the hand of Cuba's leader. We heard in great detail that the sign language interpreter was a fraud. CNN offered about ten seconds of Obama's speech.
The media didn't trust us to maybe hear words of wisdom. Instead, we heard words of trivia. Words of sarcasm, derision and political implications regarding a handshake. (The conversation, as it was, between Castro and Obama included 5 words. Not even a verb was included.)
Oh, and a six year old was suspended for kissing a girl. Apparently six year olds can not get partway to first base without prior written permission.
Teaching six year olds to mistrust each other is a good start to the process.
So, losing trust, we retreat into our cocoons. Our comfort zone where we are assured of truths that we have always had. Where we have always known what was right and real and true. And the other side is, of course, wrong to the point of delusion with a side order of stupidity.
There is, however, much room for hope that all trust is not dead.
The new Pope has been such a welcome change. Instead of focusing on who to hate and what to condemn, he asked for and showed by example, that compassion is a gift to be shared. Even Jewish folks like me can appreciate his messages.
And an act of random kindness did remarkable things for my own trust. Two days before Christmas, my wife was using the snow blower on our driveway when she fell, breaking her ankle. She started crawling toward our house where I was sleeping. Her pain was extraordinary as her shattered ankle swelled. Crawling a few feet at a time until she had to stop because the pain was overwhelming. A stranger in a pickup truck noticed someone making snow angels. Then he and his wife noticed it wasn't a child doing snow angels but a grown person crawling.
He and his wife pulled up our driveway, assessed my wife and rang our doorbell. I quickly dressed and he and I put my wife in the front seat of his truck. His wonderful wife sat in the back with me offering support and encouragement as he drove over 8 inches of new snow covering a bed of ice to get us to the hospital. Upon arriving, he ran in to the emergency ward, grabbed a wheelchair and got it outside to help me get my wife onto the wheelchair and into the hospital.
He gave me his card as he drove away. He gave us his card in case we needed a ride home or anywhere else on this snowy, icy day. On his way home, he finished shoveling off our driveway so we could return home.
I called to thank him and get his address so we could send him something. He did not want anything in return. He said he did it because it was the right thing to do and his faith calls him toward such actions.
He is one of many who would have done the same thing. There are also many who would have chosen not to get involved.
So, my trust levels have taken a turn for the positive. There is still a long road to recover the trust levels of my youth. There is a long road to recovery just from the damage done to trust by 2013. Nelson Mendela was a source of trust. The Pope is a source of trust. And a stranger named Mike is a source of trust that I will share via this story and hopefully, I will pay it forward.