TRUST BUT VERIFY

Quoting Ronald Reagan is a strange thing to do. As President, apart from theatrically demanding that Mr. Gorbachov “tear down this wall,” there wasn’t a lot of rhetoric that was memorable from Nancy’s pal.

Yet this week has brought the Gipper’s warning regarding nuclear agreements with the USSR to mind. Why? Because quite simply there is no amount of trust available, anywhere, for anything regarding anyone.

Let’s begin with the downing of Malaysian Air’s passenger jet over the Ukraine. Not only are body parts still in the field rotting, but entire sections of the plane’s fuselage are still being discovered. What isn’t being easily found, however, although it is daily promised, are data that would prove one way or the other what actually happened: did the pro-Russian separatists, favored by Mr. Putin, provocatively bring it down, or accidentally, or was it the Ukrainians themselves who did so?

Moving southeast,we see that a United Nations school, being used as a shelter for frightened Palestinians, was fired upon yesterday and that at least 15 people were killed in the attack. This despite the alert warning by the UN of the building’s physical coordinates in an effort to take the building out of the sights of both the Israelis and Hamas. Under the heading of Of Course, the best laid plans…neither Israel nor Hamas is willing to admit to firing on the school. Neither side has a long history of telling the truth.

Moving to these shores, Congress once more wailed and moaned about the conditions at our Veteran’s Administration hospitals and then decided to go home to campaign without doing anything constructive about the problems of the veterans.

(A quick aside: imagine, Congressional members seem to actually believe we want them to return, man for man, woman for woman, once more to Washington in order to “do the country’s business.” Talk about separation from reality!)

And what of the CRISIS at our border? Republican Congressmen and women are busy acting as echo chambers for their constituents, which we think is actually the case: voters who see the engulfing of their neighborhoods, their schools, their hospital services, their social services, their jobs…by “them,” teenagers from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama figured out that the entire ruckus could be solved by as little as 20 to 30 millions dollars, by having the US government buy and give to each illegal entrant a commercial airline ticket from Miami to the country from which each has fled in fear for his life. Another representative admitted that he could not name a minimum of three newly arrived aliens to whom he would grant asylum. He did not admit that to date he had met no illegal aliens in his district.

It would be a wondrous exercise to put the words of these public servants on a screen before the speakers themselves so they could hear how fatuous and inane their remarks are. Better yet, let them hear their own rabble-rousing energies, against the back ground of the words and sentiments of a prayer vigil held in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday at a United Methodist Church to demonstrate their desire to make room for the refugees.

As a nation, the United States has suffered so much bogus bragadoccio from so many sources – Presidential, Congressional, big business, big banks, automotive companies in mid-recall, that our own willingness to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt has completely evaporated. Add to this a Supreme Court intent on whittling away our American civil rights slice by slice, and you have an entire nation no longer able to believe what it is told by any source.

Voters can no longer believe in their candidates, or even their office holders. Dishonesty exists up and down the hierarchy of elective positions. We live in an era of the eternal real estate salesperson who reflexively lies without thinking. In time, we may find ourselves doubting even our closest family members and neighbors.

How do we go about verifying what we are told by so many people?

The answer to that question brings back to the foreground the ingenuity and bravery of our first settlers and founders. They asked questions. If they didn’t like the answers, they said so, and asked more questions.

Which it appears is the fate of all Americans at this time.

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