Truth, Trust and the American Way

This morning I saw a few minutes of Donald Rumsfeld on one of the  Sunday Morning talk shows.  He was talking about the erosion of trust in leaders.  He said that truth leaves on horseback and returns on foot.  He was front and center in the Nixon Administration as Tricky Dick resigned and Ford became the President.  He said that the trust and the feeling that the Administration was capable of telling the truth was at an all time low.  He said that they worked very hard to bring key players together and try to find the truth before they let any news leak out.  

Today the mantra in Washington is, "What did they know and when did they know it."   Clearly there are some things that the President needs to know that are secrets but the advent of the at the moment news coverage makes that more difficult.  The gap between the very ends of our Political parties also makes it more difficult.  I heard Giraldo Rivera  say that when it came to his daughter, he was a social conservative and a fiscal liberal.  We keep saying that the United States is the best and strongest Country in the world and yet we all see that our National Debt keeps piling up and there seems to be no end in sight.

Will the down turn in our economy turn around just as the sequestration cuts kick in.  What will that do to the party of giant fiscal programs that were put in place to save us?   I think there will be a lot of discussion and cussin' over this in the coming years.   Makes me wonder what is the real truth if there is any.

How many of us were brought up in the absolute education system that demanded the rote regurgitation of facts as we were told?   The creative part of finding out what really happened was severely challenged in most of the class rooms I was in.  I hated "knowing" the facts and not understanding the causes.  

The other day, there was a program about cults in the USA.  The main point was that so many people came here to have religious freedom that it should not be a surprise that once here, a lot of cults were formed in that vacuum.  The first was the Pilgrims and their severe social system was just a form of tyranny that few of us could have stood.  The narrator went on to talk about the shakers, the Quakers and then the Mormons.  The multiple wife part of the equation was so adverse to the people that they were literally drummed out of town until they went so far west that not even the Indians could have lived on the edge of the Great Salt Lake.   Was that a big part of why Romney was not elected?   

There was one small part of Donald Rumsfeld's talk that I completely agree with.  He said that bad news does not sit and wait.  If you make a mistake, as soon as you can, get to your boss and tell him in complete detail what happened.  Simple errors can be made right with hard work and the trust of others.  Bad errors will get you fired is you lie to cover them up.  Multiple lies can get your boss fired and up the chain if duplicated.  

A good friend of mine said that he had a system in peace time and in wartime.  He would listen to the scouts as they tell their story of what they see.  The first time was almost always an excited utterance and not to be completely trusted.  It wasn't until that person had three or four accurate reports that he would listen and act on their information.  Even then, there would be mistakes but track records are the average and a pretty good way to judge. "The race doesn't always go to the fastest but that's a pretty good way to bet" 

I am not sure that we will ever regain complete trust in our Government.  I think we need to find our next President from the list of people that tell the truth, mostly the whole truth and as much of the truth as they can tell.  

Just because he has a good view doesn't mean he see's everything



  1. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I listened to Rumsfeld on the Sunday morning program as well and searched for a particular quote the he used “Truth leaves on horseback and returns on foot”, because I didn’t understand its meaning. The only reference I found to it was in your blog.

    I still don’t know what the quote means and I’m beginning to suspect that it is a colloquialism that Rumsfeld contrived or heard at random and used in an effort to sound “sage” and “profound”.

    But to your concern regarding “trust in government”... May I suggest that confidence in government will appear when both parties of the Congress and Senate begin to represent the interests of the flesh and blood people who voted for them and not the corporate or other nameless, faceless political lobbyists who “buy” the government’s influence? Our politicians in the USA seem to be as politically corrupt as many politicians are in third world countries. The only difference is that the corruption (lobbying) in the USA has the virtue of being legal.

  2. When I served in the Active Army, I used the term go to the sound of the guns - a lot. I think Rumsfeld is saying that truth will run away but walk back. There is a lot of truth in the old saying trust, but verify that we have overlooked.