To What Extent Should We Place Trust in the Government These Days?
To what extent should we place trust in the government these days? It is said by American President Barack Obama, ”If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.” From here, we know the importance of people putting trust in their government.However, we can only place trust in them if they are able to take care of their citizens, fulfilling their needs and acting responsibly in the best interest of the citizens.
Recently, there seem to be an increase in reasons for us to distrust our government for they are fulfilling less of their duties as the leaders of the nation.
Firstly, we should remain skeptical about the government due to the simple fact that the government comprises of humans, and as we all know, no human is perfect. As Gandhi said, ”Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed. ” With scientific research stating that the humans are born to be greedy, the innate greed in the government officials might be a dangerous trait.
For the government, their greed would result in various forms of corruption such as bribery and extortion, negatively impacting the lives of the citizens. For example in sub-Saharan African nations, about half of the funds that were donated for health usages were never invested into the health sectors. Instead they were lavished to support the costly high-end lives of the government officials. This problem is not only limited to the developing countries. World wide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually.
Due to the innate greed in human nature, it is evident that many times, the government will not do what is best for the people. Instead, they would think of themselves first, thus we should not place our complete trust in the government. Secondly, governments are no longer taking care of the needs of the citizens as well as they did. There are basic needs that one should be entitled to, needs such as education and healthcare, and the government should ensure that its citizens get those needs. However, these days many countries are unable to fulfill their citizens’ needs.
In countries such as Greece, level of healthcare accessible to the public has also been on the decrease due to the recent economic crisis. Five austerity programmes within the space of two and a half years have reduced the health system in Greece to the level of a developing country and stripped working people of the basic right to adequate medical care. Most hospitals lack essential basic materials such as disposable gloves, plaster and catheters. Poorer women have to give birth at home because they cannot afford a hospital birth, which can cost €700-€1,500.
On top of that, control of infectious diseases is no longer guaranteed due to the lower standards of hygiene throughout Greece. Chronic respiratory diseases, skin diseases and tuberculosis are all on the increase. Outbreaks of malaria infections have been reported in five parts of the country, although the disease had been thought be eradicated in 1974. It can be seen that the government do not have the ability to ensure the basic wellbeing of their citizens thus we should place less trust in the government these days.
Thirdly, in many countries, governments are restricting many of the basic rights of people. These rights belong without presumption or cost of privilege to all human beings. However, in many countries, in the excuse to protect national security, the government often stripped the citizens of those rights. Under these kind of circumstances, it is of no surprise why the citizens might not trust the government. For example, in China, the freedom of speech in media and press is largely limited.
They have strict censorship rules that include all capable of reaching a wide audience including television, print media, Internet, text messaging and even video games. These rules will greatly limit the ability for press to act as the 4th estate in the country and their ability to keep the government in check. After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, many people who tried to report on the shabby construction of schools faced severed punishment. Liu Shaokun, a Sichuan school teacher, was detained for disseminating rumors and destroying social order after taking photos of collapsed school buildings, and putting them online.
With these kind of censorship rules in placed, the citizens would no longer have the faith and confidence in their government as they are denied of the truth of the happenings in their country. Thus, less trust are placed in the government these days. However, there are some people who feel that there has been an increase in trust in the government. 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer conducted by Edelman Public Relations has revealed that Singaporeans are the third most trusting of their government. They account this to the strong economy, high social security and high standard of living in Singapore.
Despite those statistics, the new generation of Singaporeans are placing less and less trust in the government. The parliament of Singapore was traditionally dominated by People’s Action Party and the decrease in trust in the leading party was seen when Worker’s Party, an opposition party, won it’s first Group Representation Constituency in the 2011 general elections. The recent political scandals in Singapore have shaken the trust placed in the government too. Just a month ago, member of parliament, Michael Palmer, announced his resignation after confessing he had an extramarital affair with a community worker.
This caused various debates among the citizens that questions the credibility of the parliament speakers. These debates further illustrates the declining trust placed in the government. In conclusion, I feel that people around the world are beginning to lose trust in the government. They no longer feel that the government is able to act to their best interest and that their needs are not fulfilled. They are beginning to be unsure of their government’s choices and question the transparency of their leaders. Thus, I do not think that we should trust our government to a large extent.