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A Healthy Distrust
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First, check out this.

Now then, how funny you found it probably depends on how much you trust the Federal government (granted, this isn't too scientific, but I'd be there's a correlation).

Me? I found it worth a smile. At the very least I could appreciate the effort. But at the heart of the gag is the notion that the alert system is a bunch of bullshit. Not only that it's worthless, but that its intent is to purposely deceive and distract.

And I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not quite there yet. I certainly think a fair amount of skepticism regarding our government, or any government, is not only useful, but vital.

But how do you know when you're throwing the baby out with the bath water? Is there ever a good time to trust the Federal government? How can you tell when you've become such a hardened, cynical paranoid that you have no faith in any aspect of government or the people running it?

Certainly there's a place somewhere along the spectrum between lapping up everything the government tells you like it's gospel and working on building a homemade bomb, right?

So am I a dupe for believing that the Homeland Security warning system has some merit? For believing that there actually were substantive reasons for raising it to orange, based on real intelligence? That is wasn't simply fabricated for political convenience?

I just happen to think it's an interesting question, how much you should trust your government. It seems to me that many of the current critics of military action in Iraq are opposed more to Bush than to anything else. In some people's minds, Bush stole the election. He's illegitimate. And goddamnit, they just can't get over that. So every word that comes out of his mouth is a lie. Every action his administration takes has some wicked ulterior motive. Absolutely nothing he says or does has any merit whatsoever.

This attitude, it seems to me, is sick. News flash: They're not going to overturn the 2000 election decision. Bush is our president. Deal with it. If you're in favor of election reform, put your money where your mouth is and try to change the system (I'm with you 100% there). Write your congressperson and ask to abolish the idiotic Electoral College. Ask for provisions that close elections not be decided by the Supreme Court. But quit your goddamn whining about Bush stealing the election.

He's our president, and that's pretty much that.

Personally, I don't trust him completely. I'd guess about 60%. I think he was an irresponsible frat boy in his youth, and I don't much trust people who are "born again". I literally despise some of his domestic agendas (such as "faith-based" initiatives). But I can also give credit where it's due, and the man has shown some excellent leadership since he's taken office. I think he's right about how to deal with Iraq. And though I don't completely trust his motivations, for the most part I do.

And what about you? How much do you trust your government? How much should you?

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