Monday, February 13, 2012

Trust

Trust is a powerful word and an amazing construct.

Who do you trust and why do you trust them?

I was thinking about trust just before the grounding of the Costa Concordia off Tuscany. I had used several cabs in recent weeks. They all had been driven by Mid East immigrants with accents. I trusted them implicitly to get me from Point A to Point B without cheating on the fare.

Why do you trust someone you never met before and will never see again to transport you and your goods?

They’ve come to pursue the American Dream for them and their family. Why wouldn’t I trust them?

On the note of Mid East immigrants, I’ve had several first and second generation Persian-Americans in my classes in recent years. They’re pursuing the American Dream, and I’m not afraid of a Fatah or Jihad.

On the other hand many Americans are fearful of Muslims from the Mid East. Even Juan Williams gets a little nervous when he sees Muslims at the airport about to board his flight. Some Americans after 9/11 mistook Sikhs for Muslims. Others view Mormons, Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and seventh Day Adventists as cults.

I don’t trust people with such biases and prejudices.

We took a cruise to Alaska on the Holland American M.S. Veendam (owned by Carnival Cruise Lines as is Costa Cruises) a few years back. The Captain got up close and personal with glaciers, but we trusted his judgment.

I trust the pilots on every flight. Unlike some past generations, I think it’s great when a woman pilot is flying the plane.

I trust charter bus drivers, although at least one was drunk on the ride back.
I trust other drivers to obey the safety laws, but defensive driving is always in order.

I trust the food purchased in supermarkets and consumed in restaurants, even though e coli or salmonella may spring up.

Of course, trust is sometimes in short supply.

I had a colleague once, whose favorite phrase was “Ye may forgive, but ye never forget.” Trust until you have no reason to trust.

I trust sovereign nations to follow international law and treaties to the extent it suits their national interests. President Reagan had it right – “Trust, but verify.”

We trust the mainstream media, to a greater or lesser extent.

I also trust politicians to do right by themselves.

The Hippies of the 60’s said “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” but they’re all in their 60’s or 70’s now.

“In God We Trust” may be on our currency and serve as our national motto, but I don’t trust God as my co-pilot. God helps those who help themselves.

Banks may actually name themselves a “Trust” Company to instill trust, such as the late Bankers Trust, and they may reside in a fortress looking edifice, but I look more to the financials than the fa├žade. Even then you cannot always trust the financials.

I mostly trust my banks and credit card companies, but I periodically check the statements on line.

Our insurance company in Massachusetts joined the exodus of major insurers out of the state. Our policies were transferred to a new insurer, Trust Insurance Company. It failed.

Some business relationships may instill trust to the point of a fiduciary relationship, but in general I do not fully trust auto dealers.

We trust our doctors, but often seek second opinions.

Certain prisoners become trustees, but we don’t necessarily trust them.

We trust our lover and kin, and those of our ethnicity, nationality, and religion, but sometimes, as with Bernie Madoff, we can be betrayed.

We engage in trusting activities without even thinking twice, such as handing our credit cards to hotel clerks and waiters, and our car keys to valets.

I trust contractors, electricians, and plumbers to not steal from our premises.

We trust people because we must in a civilized society.

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