SKANNON: Plenty of reasons to be skeptical about change
for common goals. Every wasted tax dollar, every politician focused only on keeping his job, every entitled civil servant, every incident of corruption erodes the credibility of government.
Any hope of regaining even a modicum of public trust starts with each level of government getting its fiscal house in order.
Thanks to decades of concerted effort, many people have bought into a set of diminished expectations about the role of government and, more troublingly, the possibilities of shaping a better society. We’ve had democracy reduced to the occasional trip to the polls. We’ve seen government reduced to managerial functions, where debate is constrained to a few wellworn topics. We’ve seen the economy reduced to fiscal policy – deregulation’s the order of the day as the financial services industry sets the agenda. We’ve seen citizenship dumbed down to passive observation, at best.
Fewer of us bother to vote, let alone take an interest in elections. Far fewer still look past the slogans and latest complaints. But if we’re going to have a better society we need to think about the future 10, 20, 50 and 100 years down the line. The road we’ve been on for the last three decades, driven by the neoconservative corporate agenda, has diminished our quality of life. We have to look past dubious vote-buying programs, immediate tax cuts and partisanship.
Where the likes of Trump and, yes, Ford, following in a long line of would-be and purported leaders, offers the cult-ofpersonality, maybe we’re now ready to look for leaders to shape a shared vision that’s good for the many.
In last week’s election, certainly a change was needed to do away the corruption, illegalities and disregard for the public, but we have yet to see the substance that’s emerged elsewhere. If it does, maybe we’ll be less skeptical of the change we got June 7.