Cynisism in American Politics

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, Undergraduate April 1997

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Is the American people's trust in our government declining? According to most people, it definitely is. Recent polls make this argument very valid. In 1995, the Princeton Survey Research Associates conducted a telephone interview of 1514 random sample adults. In this interview, people were asked how much of the time they trusted in the federal government to do the right thing. Twenty-one percent said most of the time and seventy-one percent said only some of the time. When asked the same question of their state governments, the results were only slightly better. Thirty percent said most of the time and sixty-two percent said only some of the time ('Why Don't'). This indicates that a majority of the American people believe that the American government is not doing the right thing in a lot of the actions it takes. Of course, nobody expects the government to operate perfectly with no mistakes, because this is not a perfect world.

These numbers are too high though. What caused this problem in the United States, what is the extend of this problem in our country, and is this distrust of our government even a serious problem at all? These are three questions that need to be addressed in out society today.

What really has caused the American people to distrust our government and when did this trend actually begin? I do not believe there is any clear answer to these questions and I do not believe it would ever be possible to pinpoint any exact reason for the feelings of the American people. One reason cited by some is that it is the fault of poor leaders. Two commonly blamed leaders are President Johnson and President Nixon. Two of the biggest drops in the public's confidence in our government occurred in 1964,