Sunday, July 25, 1999

Week of 07/25/1999

The REAL Kennedy Curse
Got a mirror?
- by David Matthews 2

A rather attractive woman in her mid-thirties was brought before the state Pardons and Parole board. She was asked to describe herself and her love life before she was convicted and sent to prison.

"Well I guess you could say I’m jinxed," she said with a shrug and a grin.

But the chairman of the board didn’t like that answer. "Jinxed? No, no… Let’s go over your love life, shall we? You were married four times, right?"

"That’s right," she replied proudly. "Four wonderful men."

"And wealthy, right?"


"And they’re all dead, right?"

"Oh yes," she said with a frown. "Very tragically too."

"Yes," the Parole chairman replied cynically as he looked through her records. "It says here that your first husband died on your honeymoon, is that correct?"

"That’s right," she said sorrowfully. "He was such a sweet man. I even made him my favorite blowfish soup. Did you know that if you don’t cook that just right, you can die? I didn’t know that until then!"

"Hmm-hmm.." the chairman said. "And your first husband did just that, didn’t he?"

"Yes.. so tragic."

"Yes.. And so did your second husband, right?"

"Oh yes.. and that was a shocker for me because I thought I had that dish cooked at the right temperature too!"

"And your third husband, right? Also just days into the honeymoon."

"Oh yes.. I really was torn up over that. I mean, he was SUCH a sweet guy."

"And your fourth husband.. he was a sweet guy too?"

"Oh yes," she said with a tear coming down her cheek. "So sweet and decent and SO caring.."

"Then WHY, miss, did you kill your fourth husband with a hammer?"

She wiped away the tear and replied. "Well because I tried, and I tried, and I tried, but that stubborn SOB refused to have any soup!"

For those of you who spent a week under a rock, or perhaps in a deep coma, you missed out on an entire week of mourning over the disappearance, quest for, and subsequent discovery and burial of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Junior, and his wife Caroline Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren Bessette. The three were flying from New Jersey to Martha’s Vinyard when their plane crashed in the water just miles from their destination.

The public outpouring, however, took on a life all its own. People, it seemed, acted like the loss of John Jr. was a loss of their own family member. They sent flowers and cards and symbols of their grief that turned the sidewalk outside John-John’s apartment into a makeshift memorial. Various cities were actually holding special funeral services for people to mourn so they wouldn’t make a journey to New York.

Then there was all this talk about a "curse" that the Kennedy family seemingly has. After all, there have been SO many members of the Kennedy clan that have suffered. Of course, never mind that the Kennedy clan is quite productive.. and that some of these "tragedies" have come from human decisions.

But for the past week I was wondering just WHY there was so much of an outpouring over JFK Junior. Sure, he had dashing good looks, but so do many actors in Hollywood. He wasn’t a public servant, he never ran for political office like his father, he didn’t sacrifice his life for the military like his uncle Joseph Kennedy Junior did in World War II.

Most of the mourning public didn’t even know John-John... at least not in person. My father did, but it was highly unlikely that John-John would ever remember sonar specialist David Matthews. He probably wouldn’t even have remembered that he was just some sailor who stood guard at his daddy’s door on board the USS Joseph Kennedy when they were out to sea, and that his neck would make an excellent target to fling paperclips at.

But then it finally occurred to me what the obsession was with JFK Junior. The answer came to me in the form of a letter in the July 19th edition of USA Today. The letter writer finished her brief message of public condolences by saying "we had so many expectations of you."

And therein was the rub… "we had so many expectations of you."

Never mind what John-John wanted to do with his life, people had expectations of him, and they didn’t want to be denied! But they were denied, and that’s why they hoarded flower shops and created all sorts of mournful expressions for their grief. They weren’t saying good-bye to John Kennedy Junior, they were saying good-bye to all their expectations of him.

Now let’s get brutally honest here.. is there a Kennedy curse? You bet there is! And the public is a part of it!

Now in all fairness, I will say that we the public did not start this curse. No, that credit goes to Joe Kennedy, senior.. the patriarch of the whole Kennedy clan. Joe Kennedy was what they would call the "nuveax riche" (or "newly rich"). He made his money, it is said, through bootlegging. Not exactly a business one would want to be remembered for in social circles, but he made it nonetheless.

Problem was, Joe lacked the respectability he thought money would bring. After all, the Hughes and Rockefellers and the Du Ponts of the world had respectability. Why not the Kennedys? So Joe decided that he would get respectability.. he would put his son in the White House!

Well when Joe Junior was killed in World War II, the pressure was on middle brother John to do the deed. John Kennedy pulled out all the stops, including recruiting celebrities like Frank Sinatra to campaign for him, and it helped put him in the White House.

Now if that was the length, width, depth, and breadth of this situation, then the "curse" would have ended when President Kennedy’s term in office did. Aside from the Cuban Missile Crisis, getting us further involved in Vietnam, cutting support for the Bay of Pigs invasion when it was sorely needed, and inspiring a certain redneck from Arkansas to later become the world’s largest con artist to ever set foot in the Oval Office, the Kennedy legacy would have been otherwise not really noteworthy. JFK, relatively young, brash, and the first Roman Catholic president, and a symbol of the younger generation.

But there was something else that happened to him.. he was publicly assassinated in Dallas, Texas. And because of that, the "curse" continued.. only this time it wasn’t Joe Kennedy behind it, but the public.

In many ways, the generations of Americans who supported John Kennedy and admired him felt cheated. Their guy was killed in front of them. He wasn’t allowed to live out his term or terms in office. Yes they blame it on Lee Harvey Oswald, but he was never allowed to live to see a trial. Oswald was killed - in public and on live television - by Jack Ruby. And in that, the public once again felt cheated.

So the pressure was on the next Kennedy son - Robert - to continue what John wasn’t allowed to finish. But again, this Kennedy was killed by an assassin’s bullet. The public felt cheated even more.

From that point on, folks, the Kennedy clan has been socially canonized as saints that can do no wrong. Every time a member of the Kennedy clan got involved with tragedy they could not be held accountable for their actions, rather it was the "Kennedy curse" that would take the blame.

A year after Robert’s death, the last Kennedy son - Senator Edward Kennedy - was involved in a rather scandalous incident where he drove his car into the waters of the Chappaquiddick, killing a young aide by the name of Mary Jo Kopechne. That scandal, and the subsequent private inquiry by the request of the family, would haunt him for the rest of his career, and perhaps forever deny him a run for the White House. But people refused to blame him.. rather it was the "curse."

When William Kennedy Smith was charged with rape in 1991, people were saying "Say it ain’t so Billy, say it ain’t so!" And even the jury agreed with him.

When David Kennedy was killed in a drug overdose, it wasn’t his fault, it was "the dreaded Kennedy curse" that did him in.

And then along comes John-John.. all grown up. John-John, who was branded as the "Sexiest Man Alive" and the most eligible bachelor until he married Carolyn Bessette. John-John, whom everyone remembered as the little boy in front of the White House who saluted the coffin bearing his father. John-John, the social saint who could do no wrong.

And oh, did people have expectations for him! Let’s face it, who DIDN’T want him to run for office? We all wanted him to run. Everyone wanted him to politically avenge the assassination of his father by running for office and becoming the next president. Not necessarily for his own sake, but for our own.

Come on people, we need to break ourselves from this obsession with the Kennedy clan. They’re not gods, they’re not royalty, and they certainly are not saints, and we need to stop treating them like such. They’re mortal, just like the rest of us. Yes that includes in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Kennedys can be philanthropic at times, not out of some kind of twisted obligation to us, but rather because they can AFFORD to be so. They can live the high life, not because of the grace of God, but rather because of what their grandfather started during Prohibition.

And yes, the members of the Kennedy clan can make mistakes just like the rest of us. And when they do, we need to stop trying to blame it on some curse of fate, but rather on their own actions.

As Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars but in ourselves." We created the Kennedy curse through our own unrealistic expectations of them. We are also the only ones who can break this curse by leaving the Kennedys alone and letting them live their lives as they see fit.

Monday, July 19, 1999

Week of 07/19/1999

The Big Tent Myth
- by David Matthews 2

When I joined the Republican Party in 1988, I adhered to a lot of the themes Ronald Reagan campaigned for.. cut taxes, balance the budget, strong military defense, getting government off our backs and out of our lives. Simple, easy to understand themes.

Of course, I knew my views weren’t the only views that made up the GOP.. the religious wrong, back then called erroneously "The Moral Majority", also had their views, and they campaigned hard to get those views shoved down the collective throats of America. I didn’t subscribe to their views, and as a matter of fact, I relished those days when they self-destructed as a political force in the late 80’s.

But there was one theme in 1988 that made the GOP so inviting.. the belief that the GOP was a big tent, open to diverse views and opinions, but have some common ground to believe in. It was a unifying theme, one that certainly galvanized enough support in 1988 for Vice President George Bush to trounce on Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis and become the next President of the United States.

It was 1988, and I was a Republican.

Four years later, I was a political skeptic in search of a new party.

What happened, you ask? Simple.. the big tent came crashing down.

Let’s get brutally honest here.. both the Democrats and Republicans have their share of purists.. those die-hard members who think moderate viewpoints are an abomination. Usually those members are kept in check with the realization that in order for them to get the political power they so want, they have to bring in those people with more moderate views. So they have to bide their time and bite their tongues and tolerate those moderates that make them sick to their diehard stomachs.

Traditionally, when either one of those two parties gains dominance in government, the purists move quietly, covertly getting their way and making the changes that they want with very little fanfare. Certainly in the Reagan years, this was the case.

But in the past ten years, those same purists in the GOP have been getting more and more impatient. They don’t just want some concessions, they want it all.. and much like the spoiled little girl in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory they want it all NOW!

In the Bush administration, their frustrations were about abortion. The pro-life, anti-abortion activists rallied hard to try to make abortion illegal and to shut down clinics across America. They made sure that the party’s platform was firmly and decisively opposed to abortion, and made it a litmus test for GOP candidates in the 1992 campaigns.

It should also be noted that the Bush years also saw a great period of political disillusionment. The economic bubble burst. Banking institutions such as the Savings and Loans were going bankrupt at an alarming rate. President Bush’s promise of no new taxes was equally bankrupt. More than three-fourths of the members of the US House of Representatives squirmed when it was revealed they had bounced more checks than the Chicago Bulls bounce basketballs. People were upset at the status quo, and while most didn’t act on their impulse to vote the bums out, certainly it gave a warning to the powers that be that the status quo wasn’t as secure as they thought.

Following the 1994 elections, when the GOP won control in both houses of Congress for the first time in forty years, those same purists hoped they would finally be able to get the control they have for so long desired. Certainly the conservatives saw the two years previous of almost unrestrained liberalism by the Clinton Administration to be too much for them to take. So when, in what can only be the most anemic voter turnout since the 1920’s, their supporters swept the ballot box, no doubt the conservatives were on a quick power trip.

Certainly the 1996 campaigns were some indications of the growing restlessness of diehard conservatives against the rest of the GOP. The more moderate candidates for president were quickly forced off, leaving only two - somewhat conservative Senator Bob Dole, and arch-conservative Pat Buchanan. Conservatives, and especially theocrats like the members of the Christian Coalition, were eager to make sure that the GOP platform reflected their beliefs more than at any other time. Following the GOP convention, even Bob Dole started using zero-sum arguments to try to secure GOP support and make sure that support was solidly conservative.

Gone was the idea of inclusiveness. Gone was the idea of moderate voices. Gone was the idea of tolerance of varying viewpoints.

Gone was the myth of the big political tent.

So here comes the 2000 campaigns… and even though the primaries haven’t even started yet, one candidate has already come out in the lead in poll after bloody poll: Texas governor George W. Bush.

This has riled other more conservative candidates, such as Buchanan, Steve Forbes, and theocrat Gary Bauer (who looks amazingly like Hitler without a mustache). But one candidate has taken his disgust even further. Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire has gone so far as to not only express his outrage at the unofficial GOP support of Bush that he has officially resigned from the Republican Party and vows to continue the campaign either as an independent or as a third-party candidate.

Now folks, the conservatives have threatened to do this for years. When it looks like things won’t go their way, they throw temper tantrums like the spoiled brats they are and threaten to go form their own party. In the past, the GOP hierarchy have made concessions to show their loyalty, but this time the conservatives didn’t even wait for those concessions before the rotund senator blasted his colleagues and stomped out of the party.

While conservative commentators like Tony Snow are quick to scoff at the Smith decision as simply a political temper tantrum, there is a real growing dissention in the ranks of the die-hard conservatives. Just days before Senator Smith announced his departure, several conservatives in the state of Arkansas announced that they were disappointed at the GOP hierarchy and formed their own political party called the Southern Party.

As a political skeptic, I would speculate that Smith’s decision to leave the party was more than just a tantrum, but rather as a political sacrifice to show the Republican members of Congress that conservatives really are serious about leaving the party. After all, the forces behind the GOP aren’t above forcing one of their own to fall on their sword. Just look at former congressman Bob Livingston for proof.

Senator Bob Smith was far from being considered a front-runner for the GOP nomination. He looks like an amalgamation between Tip O’Neil and Newt Gingrich. His greatest asset has not been for looks, but rather for his political clout as a solid conservative. Like many of his brethren, Smith works best behind closed doors.

And the key thing to remember is that his decision to leave the GOP doesn’t change a thing for him. He’s still a US Senator. Even if he decides to abandon his dreams for the White House, he’ll still have his day job. Whether or not he’ll keep his job come re-election time is another story, since Smith is now cut off of the lucrative campaign dollars that the GOP can wield.

Smith’s decision can also signal the slow bleeding of the GOP by the most stringent of conservatives to another party, whether it is for the newly-formed Southern Party, or for another political party that would welcome them. Much like the Whig Party was bled to death by the GOP, so too would the GOP be gravely wounded by the departure of their own most loyal members.

As a former Republican now Libertarian, I would relish such an abandonment. Conservatives have for so long been bashing third parties like the Libertarians, and using Rube Goldberg rules to limit their public exposure. Now the most disgruntled of them would have to face those same limitations. They would find out what it means to be on the other end of the bully stick.

What GOP leaders fail to comprehend is that to get the kind of support they loved in the Reagan years, they have to have to have a more open political platform. Simple themes like cutting taxes and less government are effective, especially given the "government can solve any problem" attitudes of Democrats like Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

The only way the GOP can survive as an effective political party will be to once again put up the big tent.

Monday, July 12, 1999

Week of 07/12/1999

The Media Versus The Internet - Revisited
Two Years Later - Same Chicken Little Games
- by David Matthews 2

Pop quiz boys and girls: You’re part of a multi-million dollar telecommunications medium that reaches out to people around the world. What you say is taken as gospel without question. That’s the way it’s been for decades and as far as you’re concerned it’s the way it’ll be for eternity.

Now take into account a new medium of communication that has grasped the curiosity of people. A medium that works just as fast as yours, cheaper than yours, and opens the scope to aspects that you would never involve yourself into. Worse yet, you’re not even the center of attention in this new media! You have to compete against everyone else in this medium!

So do you welcome this new medium with open arms? Or do you find every means possible to trash it, thereby ensuring your continued position of power over the people?

What do you do?

That question was posed to my readers on March 31st, 1997. The old guard then, of course, was televised media. The new guard was this medium.. the Internet.

The main point back then was that the media was solidly opposed to the Internet being open and relatively unregulated. Television and Radio, the most dominant form of media today, are also the most regulated and hindered of mediums, so naturally they don’t want to have to compete against an upstart medium that operates without those controls.

Of course, one could say that the media wasn’t used to the Internet back then. After all, the Internet wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. Oh sure, people heard of America Online, but for the general populace, the Internet was still considered a "geek" hobby. A "cheap" computer then cost $1500, and only the serious Internet people played around at speeds faster than 33.6 baud.

A lot has changed since then. The Internet was given the full protection of the First Amendment later on that year thanks to the US Supreme Court. Computers became cheaper, and more Internet service providers came forth. Now you can surf the web on your TV set and get e-mail via pagers and cell phone.

So what about the media? Have they changed now that they are more aware and informed about the Internet?

Absolutely not!

If anything, the media continues to prattle on, playing the role of PT Barnum, with the Internet as their circus of oddities.

The latest freakazoid exhibit for the media has been linked to violence. Between the shootings in Littleton, Colorado, and Conyers, Georgia, and the shootings attributed to white supremacist Benjamin Smith in Chicago, the media has been quick to point to the Internet as one of the supposed causes of these tragedies.

But between hate groups and web sites devoted to students who have a bone to pick with school life, the media has been quick to point out some of the other things that is supposedly wrong about the Internet. Online affairs, exhibitionist web cam sites, hackers, e-mail spam, electronic gambling, online auctions, escort services, each of which served as nothing more than ratings-grabbing chamber of horrors for these mudracking ringmasters.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment has been the creation of MSNBC, the cable-based network supposedly dedicated to both news and the Internet. MSNBC was originally touted as "phase one" of the merger between television and computers; but after the first year of going online, it was clear that the NBC half wanted to grow out of that "phase" and go back to doing nothing but "news". They eliminated their only computer-related show - "The Site" - and put in its place rehashed news footages and recaps of their "Dateline NBC" series. Stuck in an endless world of JonBennet speculations and Monica Lewinsky gossip, MSNBC has turned into CNN-lite, but with more fluff and less real news. Oh, yes, they still mention the Internet, but if it isn’t for chicken little stories, then it is only in vague references to polls and e-mail responses.

That brings us to the popular show that MSNBC dropped.. "The Site" was produced by Ziff-Davis, the publishing company that provides a plethora of computer-related magazines. The people at Ziff-Davis turned that show into a 24-hour network of their own called ZDTV. ZDTV has since taken the role that MSNBC abandoned as the real source of news for computers and the Internet.

Yes, ZDTV also has the rare bout of chicken little speculation, but the folks at Ziff-Davis have also been one of the few groups who finally get the message that the Internet was designed for adults, not for kids. The difference, of course, is that the people at Ziff-Davis know how computers work. This is their bread and butter.

Now let’s get brutally honest here.. the media seemingly hasn’t yet gotten the point that the Internet is more than just some resource center for their ratings, but rather it is the medium that will - eventually - replace them.

It is one thing to report on the dangers that are out there in cyberspace. One of the key tenants of the media is to inform. But certainly not inform them to the point of hysteria. Yes, these sites are out there. They’ve been there because the Internet is more open than any other form of communication today. That is one of the burdens of having free speech, you have to deal with speech that you may fundamentally object to.

Worse yet, creating a hysteria INVITES the kind of response that is the antithesis to freedom - namely legislation and regulation.

In a recent study by The Freedom Forum in Vanderbilt University, thirty-five percent of the population surveyed said they would support government monitoring the media. I don’t know about you, but as one who has worked in the print media and now runs his own online talk show, this commentator is seriously concerned! If this study is at all accurate, then the members of the media could very well be contributing to their own demise.

Look folks, just like I said two years ago, when this transition is over the media will have a medium of communication that will be freer than they have ever known. But it can’t happen with members of the media constantly playing chicken little games. When that happens, we all lose out.

Monday, July 5, 1999

Week of 07/05/1999

The Gigolo Pledge
Government’s Favorite Line - "Trust me."
- by David Matthews 2

In the rock classic "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," Meat Loaf tries to seduce his girlfriend, who allows him to get to a certain point but stops before going "all the way." She demands a commitment from him first, to which Meat responds with the ever classic line "Well let me sleep on it, I’ll give you an answer in the morning."

When we’re young adults, we sometimes come up with some really corny lines for us to have sex. You’ve probably heard some of the corny lines.. "Don’t worry, I won’t get you pregnant." Or how about "No, nothing will happen, because I love you, and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you like that." Or the ever classic "I’ll pull out, I promise." Or the immortal two words: "Trust me."

Trust. We consider trust to be important.

We trust banks to keep our money secure so we wouldn’t have to keep it hidden in mattresses and holes in the ground. We trust businesses when we make a purchase that the product is what they advertise. We trust teachers to educate our children so we don’t have to do it ourselves.

Then there is government….

Like everything else, government - at least in the United States - also asks that we have some trust in them. We are expected to trust them in deciding matters that are important to us, like taxes and crime.

There is just one little problem.. the United States government wasn’t really founded on trust.

Look at the Bill of Rights. The provisions in the Bill of Rights really aren’t granting the people any rights as much as they are telling the government what they CANNOT do. The First Amendment states quite clearly.. "Congress shall make no law.." The Second Amendment also makes it quite clear that its protections "shall not be infringed." These aren’t indications of any great trust in government, but rather on the knowledge that government cannot be trusted in these matters.

Look at our legal system. Our legal system is based on the notion that a person suspected of a crime is to be considered INNOCENT until proven guilty in a court of law. The prosecution.. the side representing government.. has to prove a case, not the other way around.

The American system of government was established cautiously, built on the belief that even the most well-intentioned of actions could be bastardized into something horrible for a free society. That is why the individual is often given the benefit of the doubt in the legal system, and why the Bill of Rights are designed to limit the scope of government.

And yet government continues to maintain that we should blindly put our faith in them.

Look at some of the recent laws passed by the Clinton Administration that have been challenged in court. In each case, the Clinton Administration defended vaguely-worded laws on the principle that they would only use them in an extremely specific situations. In other words, the judiciary was expected to simply take the Clinton Administration at their word… much like a young stud telling his girl "trust me, I won’t get you pregnant."

Let’s look at some examples of that trust..

President Clinton promised America a tax cut. "Trust me.." he said.

So far he has yet to deliver on that. Instead, he’s either raised taxes or he’s created new taxes (remember the Gore Tax?). Oh sure, he’s given some families new tax breaks, but he’s been about as responsive to a REAL tax cut as a cat would to a swimming pool.

Once there was an announced budget surplus, Bill Clinton promised that he would put all of that money into saving Social Security. "Trust me.." he said.

So far he hasn’t done one thing to secure that surplus money for Social Security except to talk about it. The Republicans in Congress came up with an idea for a "lock box" for the surplus money that would be earmarked for Social Security, but Clinton balked at that, and then talked about coming up with one of his own. Meanwhile, the money sits in the general fund like every other source of income. And Clinton even has a few more spending programs of his own he wants to implement! Guess where THAT money will come out of!

Let’s look at the battle over the Communications Decency Act of 1996. The CDA - part of the 96 Telecommunications Act - used vaguely-worded language to supposedly protect kids from going to adults-only web sites. The Clinton Administration’s stance on this all the way up to the floor of the US Supreme Court was only that they wouldn’t use the law blindly. "Trust me.." the administration said.

Fortunately the US Supreme Court didn’t trust them in that case. It’s hard to trust a President when he takes an oath - for a second time - to protect and defend the US Constitution and then violates it a few months later by passing and defending a blatantly unconstitutional law.

Then there’s the biggest failure of trust in Bill Clinton’s two terms: when he looked into the cameras and said "I did not have sexual relations with that woman.. Miss Lewinsky.. These allegations are FALSE." And we were expected to take his word on that. "Trust me," he insisted.

Months later he went in front of the cameras and said that, in fact, he had LIED on that day. The allegations were NOT false. They were true. Clinton had made a bold-faced LIE to the public.

Ironically, while Bill Clinton and his administration ask that we trust them, they have no such trust on the people! Clinton as even gone so far as to TELL the American public that he doesn’t trust them! When asked about giving a tax cut from the budget surplus, Clinton told a crowd in Akron, Ohio, that he doesn’t think that the American public would spend such money wisely. That is but one of many things that the president just doesn’t trust the people who elected him with.

And yet the Clinton Administration continues to say "Trust me."

Let’s get brutally honest here.. this is a gigolo pledge being invoked by the Clinton Administration. And while such a pledge may be appropriate for the kind of man Bill Clinton is in his personal life, it certainly does not serve America well to have that kind of attitude as a head of state.

If anything, the two terms of the Clinton Administration are examples of WHY the American system of government was founded on questionable trust. It may be stereotypical to say that all politicians lie, but in the case of Bill Clinton, it somehow seems quite appropriate.

That’s WHY there is a system of checks-and-balances in the American system of government.. because if both the legislature and the executive branches are dubious, then it falls to the judiciary branch to do the honorable thing. That’s why judges are, for the most part, appointed instead of elected.

You know there’s nothing wrong with having a healthy dose of mistrust in government. It allows us to spot how government’s power over the people can be abused. Our founding fathers knew that first-hand. Certainly no country that claims to value freedom should expect the people to blindly trust the government, especially when that government has little or no trust in the people it governs.

Those in government should remember that trust, like respect, must be earned. Once that trust has been lost, it is even harder to regain. Instead of demanding trust, those in government should constantly strive to earn that trust with deeds, not just empty words.