The saddest part of the complete breakdown of trust in America is how little its leaders seem to care. There’s been a lot written about the trust freefall. People haven’t trusted politicians for years (U.S. Congress: 18% approval), but now even formerly highly trusted institutions like the church (now at 31% confidence) and the U.S. military (trust down 25% since 2018) are in a trust freefall. You may expect national leaders to be racking their brains on how to rebuild this trust, yet there is no sign of that. Instead, the attitude seems to be “what the hell is wrong with the American people?” Leaders bemoan the rise of populism yet refuse to give even the briefest thought to its root causes.
National leaders and institutions seem oblivious to their own active role in America’s decline. People stop trusting institutions and leaders when they don’t see those parties acting honestly. People stop trusting when they start doubting that a leader or an organization has their best interests at heart. There is plenty of blame to go around for America’s decline, but to reverse it, the first step is for those in power to accept responsibility for their actions. That has not