The results of a new AP-GfK poll suggest Americans do not trust each other any more. An AP-GfK poll conducted last month found Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third of Americans expressed ‘a lot of trust’ in their fellow Americans.
You can take our word for it. Americans don’t trust each other anymore.
We’re not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy — trust in the other fellow — has been quietly draining away.
These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.
Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people.
Glenn found this report particularly disturbing because a lack of trust is the last stop on the road to fundamental transformation.
“Here’s the problem with this: The last thing on the list of fundamental transformation is a lack of trust in one another,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “If you look back, or if you’ve ever talked to anybody from any other country, when they come over here, what do they always say? ‘Americans are so great. They’re so open. They’re so trusting of everybody. We don’t have anything like this.’ They come here for the people.”
“America is great because America is good,” he continued. “Once you take away our trust from one another, I’m not sure you ever get it back because it’s an innocence. We have never had a government really truly go bad on us, and that’s saying something because if you’ve read Miracles and Massacres, you know we have. We’ve had the internment camps. It just depends on whether or not you were in a select group.”
So is it possible for Americans to regain trust in one another?
“Now what do we do? What do we do to get our trust back,” Glenn asked. “I contend that’s why our summer events are as big as they are. That’s why, you know, 50,000 people will travel… because they don’t come for me. They don’t come for the show. They come for each other. They want to feel that community again. They want to be around a bunch of people that they can trust.”