Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday Factoid: Trusting the Government

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: How much do you trust your government?

Hah. Hahahahahaha. Oh, wow.

Well, I'm not a conspiracy believer or anything--I don't believe there are nefarious plans to take down people like me, take rights away from me, convert everyone to a single religion, create a hostile takeover to make my life worse, or line up people like me and throw us out or kill us. But no, I don't trust the government, and my answer to that doesn't change depending on who's in charge of it at the moment.

I believe some choices are better than others, but when the candidates I vote for get elected, my being pleased at that fact does not mean I trust them.

Here's the thing. Governments have eventually reflected the will of the people pretty much only when we make them. The people who rise to government are largely privileged people who actively do not know what the everyperson deals with, and probably never have. (There are exceptions.) Women and black people did not earn the right to vote because people in government just looked at each other one day and said "Hey, that's not fair." It's only after enough people who were affected and our allies got through to those in power by making so much noise and creating so much discord that it eventually became unacceptable to ignore us anymore. And worse, for politicians, it became unpopular

LGBTQ+ people did not receive rights and protections we deserve because the government "gave" them to us. We had to scream and fight to get here, and we had to talk to important people who had decision-making power, and we had to talk to enough of our neighbors to convince them love deserved to win. We will continue to do that work regarding all the issues that currently enshrine oppression and marginalization in law. The government, in spirit, wants to take care of its people, but it sometimes disagrees on what's a problem and who's a person.

The government is a lumbering gestalt that frequently injures its subjects and itself through ignorance and occasional deliberate strikes. Sometimes their inaction is violence, and sometimes their action causes violence. I don't believe the government is out to get me (usually), but I've certainly seen it get me and people I consider vulnerable. I think some individuals in government are capable of influencing their fellows to improve certain situations or minimize damage to others, but no, I do not "trust" that they want to, or that their wanting to means that they will, or that they know what helping us looks like. Sometimes the violence is caused by them actively hurting us, but ignoring need and denying damage is sometimes worse because they can always turn around and claim their intent matters more than the result.

The only time I accept "it's the thought that counts" is in the event of a bad gift.

Claiming you want to help us or don't want us to be hurt when it's partially your job to take care of us is a big reason I certainly can't put my trust in you, government. 

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