Am I alone in thinking that 2017 has so far been one crisis of confidence after another?
Apparently not, judging from the polls Kimberly reported on late last night.
The data shows the confidence that Republicans and Democrats have separately for national institutions, including churches/religious organizations, the national news media, and colleges/universities.
Not only is the gap of confidence incredibly wide, but in some cases, it is on the rise. Hardly surprising, but definitely of note.
The fact that polls are indicating a loss of confidence in various institutions is actually comforting to me. When you find yourself at odds with former allies, have your positions unfailingly misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued because they don’t adhere to correct extreme or they don’t pay proper obeisance to the right people, it’s at least nice to know you’re not entirely alone in feeling like things aren’t as they should be.
It has been ages since I had much faith in the press. The predominantly leftward bias and the priority placed on being first rather than being accurate. The seemingly objective reporters have always been scarce as long as I can remember but there was a time that you could at least expect some of the pundits on the right to remain objective about the facts upon which they based their analysis. That’s largely gone now.
I’m inspired by Andrew Breitbart’s book Righteous Indignation where he calls for tearing down the “Democrat-Media Complex.” I can’t speak for him but I really don’t believe he meant to replace it with a “Republican-Media Complex” or a “Populist-Media Complex.” I think he was aiming for a media that reported the truth without concern for where the chips fell. It’s sad to see his name and likeness attached to voices that now write and share only that which helps their chosen leader. Today, discerning what is actually true from the tribal media is like trying to eat soup on a Tilt-a-Whirl.
During the now 24 hour news cycle how many facts are actually presented? What we call “news” today is usually just one talking head asking questions of two diametrically opposed party loyalists who contradict each other’s answers. People watch it like it were an Olympic sporting event and decide the outcome like Cold War era Soviet figure skating judges.
The problem extends beyond the media to politicians who work only to defend their party rather than the rights and liberties of the people they represent. The few who do speak up find themselves ostracized or threatened. The situation is worse in the era of Trump because many people who once defended those lone voices have sided with their detractors while somehow still believing they are working against the “establishment.” They celebrate a President whose first instinct seems to always be something other than simply telling the truth while remaining outraged by the lies of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Character only matters insofar as one can use it as a weapon against the other side.
Even religious institutions that once provided moral guidance now proclaim sleazy politicians to be “God’s chosen” as if God’s ability to work through corrupt people means that we should actively seek out such people and put them in charge. Morality is now whatever you can get away with so long as it does not surpass the other side in its terribleness.
This will no doubt elicit plenty of “sore loser” nonsense from the people whose loyalty to a politician exceeds their reading comprehension. I’m not accusing Trump of being in bed with Putin. I’m not calling for impeachment. I’m not saying Donald Trump Jr. committed a crime, let alone treason. My concern is that if he had actually committed a crime, the loudest voices on the Right would probably still be crying “nothing-burger” just as the partisans on the Left did and still do for all of Hillary’s chicanery. I won’t know if that’s true unless or until something like that happens, but my whole point is that I’ve lost confidence an all but a small remnant of what we once called the conservative movement.
The more we get comfortable with low quality people being our political and thought leaders, the more the quality of our leaders will decline.