A recent Pew Research Study showed that trust in our government by its citizenry is at an all time low. While this is not surprising, other results of the study are somewhat disconcerting. Trust in all of our society’s major institutions is at an all time low as well. This includes the church, medical establishments, etc. This information simply is a confirmation of how fractured our society has become. Such a fractured society is unhealthy and is in danger of imploding within.
We as humans tend to clump with people of like interest. This makes perfect sense and allows groups of like-minded people to accomplish much when they are focused on one issue together. The problem arises when we remain exclusively within these groups and allow our affiliations to block our interactions with other people who, or groups which, may be different.
Now perhaps you wish to continue to live in a world of rampant fear and distrust. I do not. So then it is imperative that we build relationships across socioeconomic, religious, racial, ethnic, political, and any other lines that conspire to divide us.
Take for example the gist of the following article. “Americans are increasingly skeptical of Muslims. But most Americans don’t talk to Muslims.”
So in a word we need to start talking. And keep on doing so when the conversation gets rough.
Trust is not the same as agreeing on everything. It is an acknowledgement that while we may disagree we choose to respect each other in spite of our differences and that we choose to cultivate and remain in relationships of mutual trust whether we agree on everything or not.
The strength of a person’s character is not determined by who we agree with but rather how we interact with those we disagree with. I would offer that the same applies societally as well. We must be ever vigilant against the mistrust which threatens to tear the fabric of our lives asunder.