A View From The Mesa: Distrust rampant in society

July 28, 2011|By Crissy Brooks

Last weekend, I drove up to Delano, in the Central Valley, to visit a neighbor in prison.

When I arrived, the guard told me I was dressed inappropriately and sent me out to change. If you know me, you will understand my shock. I think of myself as a modest person, and I had read the dress code. I thought I was following all the rules.

I put a sweater on over my dress to cover up my inappropriately bare arms, then went back in.

"Can you take that sweater off?" the guard asked me.

"I can," I said, "but I won't."

"Nope, you might take it off," the guard said. "You can't wear that."

He sent me out to try again. I left, wondering how could I convince him to trust me and why wouldn't he believe me.


This week, two people approached me separately about having their wages withheld.

One was working for a high-end public relations firm and the other was a day laborer from the corner of Placentia. Both are stuck in a hard place because they trusted that their employer would pay them the amount agreed upon for the work they did.

Were they foolish to have trusted the employers?

In our society, there have been some basic layers of trust. These have been in place for a long time and, some may say, are what keep us civilized.

Trust is a basic foundation for decency. In the faith tradition of which I'm familiar, principles of employment relationships, hospitality and money were laid out from the beginning.

The one I've been thinking about in the last 24 hours is, "If you hire a poor man to work for you, pay him that day."

There is trust built when we follow through on our agreements. We assume daily that we can trust certain things:

If you ask me to do a job for you, we agree on a payment. I do the job. You pay me.

If you get into my car, I drive carefully.

If you come to my home, I offer you hospitality.

If you are elected to represent the interests of my community, you look out for our safety and well-being.

These are some of the basics.

My desire was to highlight some great examples of trust in our community. I set out to hold up examples of trusting relationships that we can celebrate and replicate.

Quite frankly, I'm having a hard time finding anything. Time and time again I have run into distrusting relationships. Employees don't trust employers and vice versa.

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