America is descending into a maelstrom of distrust. The data suggests we are steadily hemorrhaging trust in our public schools, Congress, media, unions, banks, tech, and the U.S. Supreme Court. We are also losing trust in one another other, with 6 in 10 of us today feeling “you can’t be too careful in dealing with people.”
Some argue that this loss in trust — particularly in our institutions — is driving current levels of toxic political polarization, as Americans increasingly turn to their political tribes to find a sense of belonging, meaning and efficacy. The effects of our decaying trust and spiraling division have impaired our social cohesion to such a degree that the Economist Intelligence Unit recently downgraded American democracy to the category of “flawed.”
So, where should Americans turn to begin to rebuild trust and restore our democracy?