A Matter Of Trust

My post last night that touched on the 10th Amendment provoked some interesting discussions — largely driven by liberal commenter Bruce Henry. Bruce had a lot of interesting things to say, and got me thinking even further on the matter — more specifically, what differentiates what I believe from what Bruce believes.


The fundamental question that divides us seems to be, “do you trust your fellow Americans, by and large, to do the right thing?”


I find myself, as I often do, turning to Winston Churchill and his never-ending line of quotable remarks. One that has always stuck with me was his observation that “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”


When I see someone buying cold medicine, I don’t think “there’s a potential meth dealer.” When I hear about someone owning a gun, I don’t think “there’s a potential murderer.”


I am reminded of the apocryphal tale out of some feminist college class, where all men were described as “potential rapists.” When one man objected, he was told that he was… er… “properly equipped” to be a rapist; the only think lacking was the putting of that potential to use. He replied by asking if it was equally fair to refer to all women — especially the female professor who had made the “potential rapists” remark as “potential prostitutes.”


By and large, I trust my fellow Americans. I trust them to respect the traffic laws, and not crash into me or run me off the road or run me down on a crosswalk. I trust them not to come up behind me and knock me over the head and rob me.


My trust, of course, isn’t blind. I lock my home, I lock my car, and I don’t walk around with money hanging out of my pockets. After all, these fellow citizens of mine are the ones who elected Obama. They won’t always make the right choices.


But because some Americans made some wrong choices, should we strip Obama voters of their right to vote again? (I think I can name a few people who’d agree with that proposition.) Hell, no. We learn from our mistakes. And just because some Americans can’t be trusted doesn’t mean we shouldn’t trust all our fellow citizens.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to run to the store. And on that run, I’ll buckle up, obey traffic laws, not run down any pedestrians, and not buy any ingredients to make drugs.


Honest. You can trust me.

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