Opinion

Chrystia Freeland

What happens when citizens lose faith in government?

By Chrystia Freeland
August 5, 2011

Tolstoy thought unhappy families were unique in their unhappiness.

But when it comes to countries, these days the world’s gloomy ones have a lot in common. From Fukushima to Athens, and from Washington to Wenzhou, China, the collective refrain is that government doesn’t work.

“2011 will be the year of distrust in government,” said Richard Edelman, president and chief executive of Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm.

For the past decade, Mr. Edelman has conducted a global survey of which institutions we have confidence in and which ones are in the doghouse. In 2010, the villains were in the private sector — from BP, to Toyota, to Goldman Sachs, corporations and their executives were the ones behaving badly.

But this year, Mr. Edelman said, we are losing faith in the state: “From the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, to the government’s response to the earthquake in Japan, from the high-speed rail crash in China, to the debt ceiling fight in Washington, people around the world are losing faith in their governments.”

Even the Arab Spring, Mr. Edelman mused, was an extreme expression of the same breakdown in the people’s support for those who rule them.

After that, though, the global parallels start to break down. In our kitchens, on Facebook, and in our public squares, a lot of us, in a lot of places, are talking about how we long to kick the bastards out. But how we act on that angry impulse varies widely. Figuring out when and how our private anger translates into public action, and of what kind, is one of the big questions in the world today.

One answer comes from Ivan Krastev, a Bulgarian political scientist. One of Mr. Krastev’s special interests is in the resilience of authoritarian regimes in the 21st century. To understand why they endure, Mr. Krastev has turned to the thinking of the economist Albert O. Hirschman, who was born in Berlin in 1915 and eventually became one of America’s seminal thinkers.

In 1970, while at Harvard, Mr. Hirschman wrote an influential meditation on how people respond to the decline of firms, organizations and states. He concluded that there are two options: exit — stop shopping at the store, quit your job, leave your country; and voice — speak to the manager, complain to your boss, or join the political opposition.

For Mr. Krastev, this idea — the trade-off between exit and voice — is the key to understanding what he describes as the “perverse” stability of Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia. For all the prime minister’s bare-chested public displays of machismo, his version of authoritarianism, in Mr. Krastev’s view, is “vegetarian.”

“It is fair to say that most Russians today are freer than in any other period of their history,” he wrote in an essay published this spring. But Mr. Krastev argues that it is precisely this “user-friendly” character of Mr. Putin’s authoritarianism that makes Russia stable. That is because Russia’s relatively porous dictatorship effectively encourages those people who dislike the regime most, and have the most capacity to resist it, to leave the country. They choose exit rather than voice, and the result is the death of political opposition: “Leaving the country in which they live is easier than reforming it.”

Nowadays, the Chinese find little to emulate in Russia. That includes flavors of authoritarianism: Theirs is the more carnivorous variety, including locking up dissidents, rather than encouraging them to leave, and censoring the Internet, rather than allowing the intelligentsia to be free but ignored.

Mr. Krastev’s thinking suggests a perverse possibility — that Mr. Putin’s slacker authoritarianism, while less able to deliver effective governance than the stricter Chinese version, may actually prove to be more enduring. The recent outburst of public rage in China over the high-speed rail crash is one piece of supporting evidence.

Mr. Hirschman came up with his theory of exit and voice in the United States, and he believed that exit had been accorded “an extraordinarily privileged position in the American political tradition.” That was partly because the United States was populated by exiters and their descendants — immigrants who chose to leave home rather than reform it — and partly because for much of American history the frontier made it possible to choose exit without even leaving the country.

For Americans, that sort of internal exit is no longer an option. Whatever you may think of the political agenda of the Tea Party, or of its wealthy supporters and media facilitators, it is at heart an ardent grass-roots movement whose angry and engaged participants have chosen voice over exit or apathy.

But when you look at what they are using that voice to advocate, you may decide that Mr. Hirschman was right after all about the American national romance with exit. The Tea Party’s engaged citizens aren’t so much trying to reform government as to get rid of it — the only possible version of exit when the frontier is gone and you already live in the best country on earth.

There is something, as Mr. Hirschman understood, particularly American about that impulse. But it may also be rooted in a theory about how to reform government that has been popular on both sides of the Atlantic in recent decades. That is the idea that creating competing, private-sector-operated alternatives to the public sector is a good way to force the state to raise its game. The charter school movement in the United States is one example. Prime Minister David Cameron’s advocacy of the Big Society is another.

Looked at through Mr. Hirschman’s lens, however, these private providers of formerly state services may have quite a different effect. If they allow the best and the most disgruntled citizens to exit the state, they might make the state-supplied option worse, rather than better. As Mr. Hirschman argued: “This may be the reason public enterprise … has strangely been at its weakest in sectors such as transportation and education where it is subjected to competition: The presence of a ready and satisfactory substitute for the services public enterprise offers merely deprives it of a precious feedback mechanism that operates at its best when the customers are securely locked in.”

The 21st century is the era of mass travel, open borders, instant communication and the affluent citizen-consumer. Russian oligarchs aren’t the only ones who can exit — a lot of us can. It is no wonder so many of us distrust our governments. But in this age of exit, do we have much chance of reforming them?

 

Comments
39 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

“But in this age of exit, do we have much chance of reforming them?”. Historically, no, they were all replaced through revolutions. Scientifically, no, any entity can’t improve its own gene without going through a die-birth cycle. This has been going for thousands of years and it’s totally natural.

Posted by Whatsgoingon | Report as abusive
 

You two need to grow up! You have moved to far up Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. The US and other countries may have issues but you are living in the top of the hierarchy because of the government and the stability it provides. In a way, I hope you are right and things deteriorate, because you have forgotten what is like to be a “Hunter\Gather”. I wonder when the last time Freeland handed out food to starving masses in Africa or Easter Europe was. I have been there \ done that – and it makes you realize what a ‘poser’ Freeland is.

Posted by DeerHunter | Report as abusive
 

Dear Chrystia Freeland,

Agreed with your comments and Opinions. However i just can’t believe you missed to mention the situation in India, if you are talking about the Global phenomenon! its pretty much the same story hear as well.

regards
Chandresh

Posted by CMeravi | Report as abusive
 

We have “the best country on earth”?? And where are you living and who do you know?

The problem here is that a certain powerful class of people, bound by privilege and birth to a closed stratum of society, think everyone else lives as they do and feels as they do. This is a dangerous illusion. Ask Marie Antoinette. Authoritarianism is a disease that can take root anywhere, and has managed to find fertile ground in America.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive
 

Very interesting perspective. Thank you for writing it. However, what is the option for those that don’t feel that they can ‘exit’ or ‘reform’? What about them? Sure, the rich can have a voice or leave, but what about the poor and the lower middle class. Where is their voice? Where do they go? And the concept of privatization to compete with nationalization is intriguing. It requires a delicate balance. I trust the private sector’s ability to manage its greed factor (survival of the fittest) even less than the government’s ability to manage social programs (free ride for everyone). An elected government that honestly tries to work together and represent all people in the entire nation (not just their district or their lobby) is the best solution to the true problem So, I see it as “UP” with democratic representation of the people and “DOWN” with the greedy private sector survival of the fittest. The tea party has put all their eggs in one basket hoping for rescue from the private sector. At the point in life that any one discovers that they and their families are the ‘ones left behind’, they will understand how tenuous and abusive an unregulated private sector is and will be. Another way to look at it is that rule by the private sector is no more than slavery.

Posted by SeaWa | Report as abusive
 

The traditional American option is to change the government using the vote. Sure, recent governments have been the best money can buy, but when enough people get upset, they can vote the bums out. Dump Obama, Hillary in 2012!

Posted by rhess595 | Report as abusive
 

Tolstoy concluded after inspecting government and religion
“Kingdom of God is within you.”

Posted by girishpatel | Report as abusive
 

Reducing the ability of dominated communities to maintain their own functioning organizations is a universal characteristic of authoritarian regimes. Authoritarianism works by increasing dependence on the State and thus the power of that State. Effectiveness of government institutions is not important for any other reason.

“Reform” is not an option with modern States. Only dissolution or submission. Flight, at least from the USA, is not an option. Emmigration is highly discouraged through the use of onerous exit taxes and extraterritorial legal jurisdiction claims. These features are also common among acknowledged authoritarian regimes.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive
 

The state of the US government right now is a direct consequence of big business sticking its hands into the government. Washington can start by closing tax loopholes but giving tax incentives to companies who create jobs in America.

Posted by KyuuAL | Report as abusive
 

“The presence of a ready and satisfactory substitute for the services public enterprise offers merely deprives it of a precious feedback mechanism that operates at its best when the customers are securely locked in.”

Absolutely! Look at how well the IRS and DMV are run.

Posted by Fiscal_Sanity | Report as abusive
 

The complaints of most and the action of the few will not allow us to cahnge hte way we are govern nor the way States are, as nations, are managed. There is no longer a correct left or and incorrect right (depending on one’s politcal views). It is our desire to make change plausible that will make a difference to how we live, act and re-act.

Just as Karl Marx called workers to unite it is time to call on citizens to unite. Tall, short, thin or big it is the same planet for all; how we come to see it will depend on our commitment to change and improve.

Posted by alatorre | Report as abusive
 

Our Government in the United States was fine when we had Statesmen. Now it’s all run by basic figureheads, running around parroting lobbyist talking points for votes and money. We need to not control private business, but compel them to work on behalf of the Nation, and not whatever works best for them. Call it Socialist, Authoritarian, but these people are greedy, selfish, pigs. Outsourcing, and becoming a “service country” was the worst thing to ever happen.

God, how many jobs have been lost to India in the IT and Healthcare sector? How much of our industrial capacity has been lost to China for the sake of profit? Just because it’s cheaper to do so, doesn’t make it right. You’re either an American, who will do well for the Nation, corporation or not, pay taxes, and Wall Street needs to be reined in too. I’m not for Big Government, I’m for Ultra-Nationalistic Government, and smaller business.

We need to change a few things regarding private enterprise. It must not conflict with politics. Lobbyists need to be banned. Corporate campaign funding needs to be banned. If you represent a corporate interest, banned from Government. Seperate business and Government. Simple. Maybe us lower and middle class “peons” could thrive this way.

Posted by NickinAround | Report as abusive
 

They watched ‘INSIDE JOB’. They saw their tax money stolen to bail out billionaire banksters on Wall Street by their puppets in the US Congress. They see the wealthy, who are richer than they have been in 80 years, paying lower effective tax rates than the middle class. Source: Warren Buffet. They see Congress discussing raising the age for Medicare and Social Security eligibility while continually lowering taxes for people who own private jets and 5 homes. They see one political party say that their primary goal is to see the President defeated in the next election. They read Matt Taibbi brilliant series of articles in Rolling Stone.com on the ‘Vampire Squid’ of Goldman Sachs. They read how JP Morgan Chase looted Jefferson County, Alabama into bankruptcy, so that they could earn fees for the transaction. They watched ‘HOUSE OF CARDS’ by David Faber on CNBC TV. They saw how CNBC made his documentary ‘UNTOLD WEALTY: THE RISE OF THE SUPER RICH IN AMERICA’ disappear from the CNBC website! I guess they didn’t want to encourage a revolution when people saw a fellow not bothered by having to have to pay $40,000 for a tire on his $2,300,000 sports car while the Congress debates raising the age for Medicare eligibility.
But it’s OK. The day of reckoning is coming. It will arrive a lot sooner than you think.

Posted by Discovery451 | Report as abusive
 

Ms Freeland’s opinion sounds more like a book report.

Posted by dlj1875 | Report as abusive
 

One reason that the villains of 2011 are governments is that they didn’t bother to seek real justice against the the villains of 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007…

The villains of today and the villains of the recent past were clearly in a synergistic relationship.

If we had a Department of Justice whose primary mission was to avidly seek justice and the greater good for the citizens of America, all of those notorious and surreptitious villains would have been prosecuted under RICO, stripped of all of their assets and imprisoned for decades.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive
 

Dear Reuters, how do I email this article?

Posted by Vitali | Report as abusive
 

Whether fault lay with Republications or Democrats is not what this is about….We live in a global enterwined economic community, the world was watching. It saw a display of partisanship, and brinkmanship, between parties who seemed willing to sacrifice everything for their politics. S&P, and the Dagong for that matter, both reacted to what they saw: a world economic superpower, in the midst of a serious economic event, squabbling about how to fix it and jeopardizing the stability of the U.S. economy, its citizenry and the International economy

Posted by outheresumwhere | Report as abusive
 

Thank you, Chrystia Freeland, for such a wonderful, thought provoking article. I will certainly have to look more into Hirschman’s theories. For example, I wonder what he has to say about the difference between the increased mobility due to today’s transportation modes versus the decreased ability to emigrate due to immigration laws and global economic instability. @Discovery451′s comments are also of concern. Modern corruption in the US is subverting the free society our founders envisioned. How does the resulting loss in faith translate into action when our modern conveniences like cheap fast food remove the imperatives that are the foundation of action. What is the result of this apathy balanced against armchair politics (ie moveon)?

Oh joy. What thoughtful fodder.

Posted by LEEDAP | Report as abusive
 

History tells us that when a significant mass of the populace not only loses faith in its government but regards it as corrupt and non-responsive to the needs of the majority, there is a revolution.

Posted by seattlesh | Report as abusive
 

“What happens when citizens lose faith in government?”
Revolutions happen!
Federal government grip on USA is phenomenal. No revolutions will happen in USA because the US military will not allow it. Can we see a million rifle march on Washington? I doubt it.
The first beneficiary of the US federal government is the bureaucrats. Being the largest business in the country the feds screw everybody.
I suppose there was more freedom in Nazy Germany or communism than there is now in USA.

Posted by typohero | Report as abusive
 

Both me and my brother are escapees from the US. He’s in Korea, I’m in Afghanistan, on my way to S. America. I think the author is right on. I’d add, that when the middle class and the tallent in a nation flee for greener pastures the nation collapses. The US is in a rapid decline and there is nothing to be done about it. Get out while the getting is good.

Posted by electricj | Report as abusive
 

Wonderful piece. Made me think. Is this not in fact Mexico’s strategy with its poor and dispossessed: exit or voice—with exit being the easiest path. In the US, we have always had voice. It is only recently however, that we have begun to see that our voice–whether Republican or Democrat–is trumped by the voice of money. Our representatives, Republican or Democrat, listen only to those who pay them the most money. And that means that we effectively have no voice…and with meaningful path of exit, we are really only left with one alternative.

Posted by jkw | Report as abusive
 

What happens when citizens lose faith in their government, just ask the Egyptians.

Posted by seattlesh | Report as abusive
 

The model we imagine for significant system of government change would probably be limited to the post-revolutionary opportunity unless we were to view the objective differently.

If the governments of the G20 decided that the soverign authority needed to create a jointly regulated vehicle of global exchange needed to be ceeded, and they sold that position to their peoples, the task might come closer to achievable.

Posted by Colmery | Report as abusive
 

I’m not at all convinced that distrust in government is a new phenomenon. All through literature of past eras you can find government officials made out to be fools. Surely people have always distrusted those in power. The difference is that now, all of the myriad problems our government leaders create for themselves, and their failures to address their constituents’ needs, are reported and magnified by the 24-hour news cycle.

Posted by Sensibility | Report as abusive
 

Much of the problem lies with the voters. Most voters know more about TV or Facebook than the elected leaders we have voted in. How many of us know who our Senators are? How many of us know who our Representative is? Until we start to care about who leads us – they will not care about us. Then part of the problem is that most of us want more out than we put in. Look at some of the Representatives web sites – some are lists of the pork that they have brought back to their district. President Kennedy said – ask what you can do for your country, not what your country can do for you – now would be a good time to do that.

Posted by richinnc | Report as abusive
 

Recent research shows that by randomly selecting manager from the file and ranks and not by way of “merits” actually makes organizations more effective. This is nothing knew since the old adage was that “best managers are the one who don’t want to be the one”. I believe the post-modern governance demands similar solutions: randomly select citizens to become elected officials, and perhaps stratify the sample along professions to every expertise would have voice (you hate for the life-long lawyer to make public health policy decisions!) This way, not only we get a better representation of the society but also save ourselves a boat load in campaign money not spent.

Posted by FinProf | Report as abusive
 

With all due respect, this column is muddled, moving from one insight to another without tying anything up.

As a reader from many different sources, and a student of human nature, there appear to be at least two things true of this historical moment in the US:

1. There is a vast disparity between the haves (1% of the population) and the have nots (99%) and that disparity is the direct result of decades of policy that de-taxed wealth, de-regulated business, and suppressed wages (e.g. union busting, offshoring jobs, mergers that destroy jobs, and not letting the minimum wage rise/fall like the price of oil and other costs businesses face). This disparity is particularly evident when you compare 1945 to 1981 and 1981 to date.

2. The haves, which include not only the wealthiest individuals and families but also giant global corporations and the merged entities of many companies (think Disney also owning ABC, or Clear Channel owning 1,000 radio stations), have managed to co-opt both political parties and their policy agendas. They also have managed to co-opt the government itself, witness an ex-Deutsche Bank general counsel, Robert Khuzami, giving a love tap to JP Morgan for bid rigging when the same crime done by the Mafia gets a RICO conviction, jail time, and serious money. JP Morgan didn’t even have to admit guilt. Presumably Mr. Khuzami will go back to Wall Street once he’s done working for Wall Street in the US government.

Bottom line, you can come up with all sorts of ideas and insights and theories about what is wrong with the US political and economic systems. At the very least, however, it boils down to the millenia old story of elites corrupting the government and the economy. From funding the Tea Party to cushy taxpayer funded jobs to hiring lobbyists, to giving six figure jobs to compliant politicians, it’s the same as it ever was, only on a much larger scale.

Americans have two choices: emigrate to a real professionally run country like Norway or Denmark, or figure out which bums to throw out (and which ones to vote in).

Posted by FredFlintstone | Report as abusive
 

I’m not at all confident in such simple assessments. The Unites States remains a very comfy place for most of its citizens. (Look at our waistlines.) It’s a heck of a lot better to be poor in the U.S. than nearly any other country. Very few United States citizens will abandon the country just because they think the government has become incompetent and untrustworthy.

It’s really only when the government becomes a source of fear that people will flee in large numbers.

The real consequence of the now common and growing loss of faith and trust in our government is that people simply “exit” in-place. They don’t vote. They don’t pay attention to news, particularly political news. They navigate their day-to-day lives staying out of the government’s way. They lose their sense of connectedness with fellow citizens. Ultimately they don’t easily comply.

But this only accelerates the devolution. The people who continue to be engaged with the countries politics will be extremists. Fundamentalist theocrats (as we see growing in the south). Narrowly-minded “conservatives”. We lose capable, whole-brained leadership candidates.

This has been happening for some time and is undergoing a real surge now. Stopping the trend is as “simple” as electing strong, intelligent, and honestly devoted leadership into Washington. But given the expense and media paddling-line required to run for nearly any office that’s about as likely as being struck by lightning while operating farm equipment…in your living room.

So I am not at all optimistic that the Fall of Rome can be staunched.

Posted by Circa1954 | Report as abusive
 

I would remind you once again of one of the lessons from Shannon’s work in Information Theory:

“Information Breaks Down Hierarchies”

What I find more interesting is that it takes about 20 years for new concepts to work its way through to general acceptance. Consider, Vint Cerf works out TCP/IP in roughly 1973. Berners-Lee rolls out his web server in roughly 1993. We are now approaching 20 years of the web, and we are increasingly seeing the internalization of the concept.

Chrystia, you just have to recognize it’s good. You may know and somewhat admire guys like Strauss-Kahn, Jamie Dimon, et al, but the evidence is coming out that they are simply scum in suits. The world needs to know that, and is better for it.

Posted by ARJTurgot2 | Report as abusive
 

What ever happened to government protesting without violence? If we cannot feel the effects of protesting on the internet, people should protest in person. What about marching on Washington? People need to be seen and heard one way or another. Ongoing peaceful demostrations will prove if our government will listen or fail to listen. I say those men and especially women concerned with where are government is headed should march! I would do it!

Posted by venusianlover | Report as abusive
 

This is an interesting article that shows us that our history is only a cycle that comes and goes. There’s nothing new under the sun. Never-the-less, an end is coming for the sake of those who are innocent and have had to suffer because of selfish human desires. There will be a time when everyone will be challenged by unfortunate circumstances that will reveal an individuals true character. And the only thing man will have to barter with is a limited supply of food and water.

Yes this article is very eye opening. It confirms that the leaders of our world are being backed into a corner without an answer to fight their way out.

There’s one thing for sure, something will happen and the people who pay their bills and help others will suffer first.

Posted by jbrndee | Report as abusive
 

the selection-proces for new and existing USA-lawmakers is seriously flawed.
their interests in governing the nation as a balanced unit, especially internally, is very limited to the fullfilling of the whishes of the special-interest groups they represent, and that is not the general population, who has no money to pay the lobbyists.
the lawmakers now are too easily influenced by powerfull relations and money, and they like their big salaries and enormous perks and their large power is fullfilling their blown-up ego’s.
but their results are very negative for the country and for MOST of the population.
the public has indeed decided that taking silenty the exit-side is better for their own health and with less frustrations about the lack of compromise and therefor a lack of progress towards a balanced, and therefor a peacefull and trustworthy society.
and that is basicly all what most people want from the government.
it is no wonder that a vocal minority, can then block the whole political proces of give and take.and they really do not care if the external relations of the USA are getting burned, after all they where willing to burn down their OWN country first.
I do not believe that the outcome of the selection-proces will improve soon, because their is no independent central institute that weighs the open-mindness, the capabilities,the independence and the honesty etc. of the new and existing USA-lawmakers and can decide that a person is not fit for the job.
do you hire somebody that will ruin your business?
poor America, you will get what you produce and that is not something you can be proud off.
Loek, a sad American.

Posted by loek | Report as abusive
 

My husband and I now have an 11,000-mile-marriage due to this very phenomenon. After Citigroup pulled funding for the architectural project he was working on in 2008, we blew through all our savings in order to live until job offers began to come from other countries. Our family moved to Saipan (commonwealth of the U.S. in the Pacific), then to Shanghai, China, which proved just too challenging and depressing for my son and me. We moved back to the US without my husband and are maintaining two households. My husband now lives and works in Mauritius, since there is actual development happening there.
Not all workers are able or willing to exit their home countries, but for an increasing number it is what feels like the only remaining option. I only hope the US is able to pull back from the brink before total collapse.

Posted by workwidow | Report as abusive
 

With all the well-known defects of representative democracy, it seems to me that the real sea-change is the fracturing of the American people. There have always been regional and class antipathies, but to say that we are growing to hate and mistrust each other on a grand scale isn’t going too far.

I think of Sarejevo, once a cosmopolitan city where diverse ethnic groups coexisted and intermarried to an extent that might be hard to fathom in the US. Then it became a battleground of civil war stoked by political gangsters.

Sarejevo illustrated that any group of people can be taught to hate one another, if the right people are consistently fed the right narratives.

For many years, opportunists and promoters in this country have forged narratives to foment hate, rage, and mistrust. Why? Because it makes money. It gets votes. Radio, cable, and other forms of media provide tools to rake in money and votes on a large scale. And we are certainly not alone.

If it continues, it may be that, as long as they have the numbers, those who hate the hardest will come out on top. But they may very well wind up on top of a pile of scrap. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Posted by TheCageNovel | Report as abusive
 

According to Crane Brinton, in “The Anatomy or Revoluion” what follows a loss of faith in government is financial breakdown, then organization of the discontent to remedy the breakdown. I believe the individuals who lead the tea party are representative of the problem and are not the solution. Perhaps the disenchanted will seek shelter in any available port during a storm.

Posted by m2u | Report as abusive
 

Unfortunately, the chance of anyone pulling off a ‘Ten Days that Shook the World,’ are gone.
The probability of reform approaches zero, as everyone is on a pension, either state or corporate funded and cannot afford to be without it.
Hence, all can bewail lot and soldier on.

Posted by The1eyedman | Report as abusive
 

Bill Maher appearance was outstanding, I am so glad to have found this blog (and those of your colleagues’) because of it.
451′s comments on America having seen the atrocities of the rich and powerful are only amplified by the fact that much of the younger generations are completely bewildered as to how these people are allowed to have this kind of socio-economic/political leverage over the unfortunate “masses”.
The best comment from that episode (Real Time, #220 on HBO)came from Cuban, believe it or not, when he pointed out that the Rep’s have really backed themselves into a corner politically, and I think Americans are finally opening their eyes to the abuse and neglect of the right. Even down here in Red-hot Texas the conversation concerning politics and social agenda is (finally!) beginning to bend a slightly new direction.
This is America, and there is a standard that our leaders are expected to meet…

Posted by ericanthonyg | Report as abusive
 

What happens when citizens lose faith in government is that minor acts of oppression or suppression by government become a reason for major public reactions: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/1 0/us-britain-riot-idUSTRE7760G820110810

Posted by GusM | Report as abusive
 

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