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Front Page » September 8, 2009 » Opinion » Staff Column: Distrust of the government runs high
Published 1,681 days ago

Staff Column: Distrust of the government runs high


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

How many times can you lie to someone and still have them believe you?

The federal government has lost much of its credibility with the public over the last 60 years, largely because they have lied about so many things and people have stopped listening to their explanations.

It used to be there was some trust between regular folks and their government, but that has been dashed, regardless of the department of the government that is talking.

Thursday night, at the Carbon County Events Center five or six representatives of the Bureau of Reclamation came by to talk to about 300 people about a land dispute. They said they were there to lay out what has happened and to find solutions for the future.

The assembled crowd, already up in arms through rumors and rumblings about what was going to happen at Scofield, mostly didn't want to listen to what they were saying. They wanted to tell the federal government to get off their backs.

Locals in the area have been personally burned by so much of what the federal government does. We all feel put out on subjects from land use, to energy development to social security. On Thursday night most people were in little mood to listen.

The situation was very much like a kid who lies to his mom about the mean things his sister does to him day after day, and finally one day, when she really does do something mean, mom won't listen.

Thursday night mom mostly wasn't listening, because she had enough.

Americans have been lied to about everything from wars to Wall Street, by multiple agencies and even by our presidents who many of us voted for. So when someone does come along and say "We're from the government and we are here to help you" most of us have very little trust, regardless if they are from the Department of Fun and Joy or the Department of Free Money.

I believe that many federal officials want to do the right thing and really try. But most are so caught up in the political program that is rampant throughout the federal government, regardless of the party that is in power, that they just can't carry through on their good intentions. And often what many of them promise, someone else above them says no to.

It's a dilemma the American people are in. Our government is for the people, yet that fact gets forgotten in the politics and rhetoric that goes on day after day.

In this instance the BOR seems to be very sincere about wanting to negotiate some kind of solution with the land owners in the area. Personally, with everything that is going on in the government right now, I think they would like to work it out because keeping things low key would certainly be an advantage to everyone. But landowners need to be vigilant, do their investigation and their due diligence.

One loving hand of the government seems to be extended, but you can never tell what is in the other hand.

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