Developing trust based on experience

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Column by Ben Sheroan, editor

By Ben Sheroan

Let’s start with a basic question: How do you decide who to trust?

Perhaps they look you directly in the eye and offer a firm handshake. Those are signs of trustworthness, right? That’s what Mrs. Alton, my second-grade teacher used to say.

Or maybe there was something familiar in their demeanor that makes you comfortable. On the other hand, you may rely on some special intuition that magically measures sincerity in their voice.

Obviously, when it is someone you’ve never met before, trust is tough to determine. Like most life lessons, the best measure of trust is experience.

If your experience with another is consistently truthful or even generally truthful, you probably consider trust to be well placed. And the opposite is true, too. We don’t trust the people who have proven to be untrustworthy.

With the federal rollout of the Affordable Care Act, voters have a lot of trust-related questions. Time will help get to the bottom of it all, but let's focus on one particular point.

As questions about the federal health insursance website's failure mounted last week, efforts to place blame and point fingers began. It quickly became clear that administration advisers aimed to close ranks and protect the president.

We were told that he knew nothing about possible problems about this key public component of the Oct. 1 rollout until it was too late.

Now listen to what U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie said during Aug. 20 question-and-answer sessions in Hodgenville and Elizabethtown.

Guthrie said he disagreed with the strategy to withdraw funding from the president’s health care initiative, which eventually led to a 16-day partial government shutdown and a compromise that shifts the problem to early next year.

Guthrie, who has no administration role, said the government would not be unable to implement the sweeping reforms. He described that as common knowledge in Washington, D.C.

He also predicted that the effort to remove funding for Obamacare would backfire on Republican advocates and benefit the administration.

Describing the massive policy as being on the verge of “imploding,” Guthrie said he favors a 30-day continuing resolution to maintain government operations and let the national spotlight reveal Obamacare for what it is.

“It’s unpopular, unworkable and it’s unraveling,” Guthrie said.

Now considering excuses made last week by presidential advisers and statements that Rep. Guthrie made two months ago, let’s return to our opening question: How do you decide who to trust?

Ben Sheroan is editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.