William Shakespeare once said, "Love all, only trust a few."
Trust is important, and yet, it is a dangerous thing.
I witnessed trust at its best the other day.
While leaving a local grocery store, a woman was entering the store holding the hands of her two small children.
What made it such a unique scene was one child was wearing their winter coat backwards, with the hood over their face.
"Why did you put your coat on like that," the mother asked with an exhausted, yet patient voice, as she tried to lower the hood. "You can't possibly see where you are going."
I couldn't see the little one's face, but I knew he was smiling when he looked up toward his mother and said, "I don't need to. You've got my hand."
Trust allows us to form lasting relationships with others.
Yet, if you put a group of professional philosophers and scholars in a room, they probably wouldn't be able to agree on a single definition or theory that truly encompasses the meaning of truth. But one thing they might agree upon is for one person to trust another involves taking a personal risk.
Deciding to take that risk is when trust is most dangerous.
"Go ahead, taste it," I heard my son tell his friend the other day while trying to shove a spoonful of extra hot habanero pepper sauce into the friend's mouth. "Trust me."
Needless to say, I think the friend won't trust my son to serve him food again.
A burned mouth might not be the worst-case scenario of betrayal between two people, but it does include loss of self-respect.
The combination of a betrayal of trust and loss of self-respect reminds me of politics, which (if you read my last column) you know I hate.
The television in The Brazil Times newsroom is always on a news channel, which I don't mind. But, I hate the fact that 90 percent of the coverage is about the presidential election.
According to several local residents who expressed their like-minded opinions about the Electoral College with me, many people have lost trust in politicians.
There is a rising lament among political scientists and pundits expressing their universal concern about the recent decline of political trust among Americans.
Honestly, has there been much in recent history to help develop a trusting relationship with our politicians?
Images of various levels of public betrayal of some sort come to mind for many voters at the mere mention of high-power political names like McCarthy, Agnew, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton, DeLay, Cheney and Bush. Can you see them?
How about the images connected with catchphrase names of the various public political humiliations like Enron, Pardongate, Iran-Contra, Whitewater, Watergate and Chappaquiddick?
Many people don't remember these events because they've given up caring about the state of politics in this country, which is only one of the reasons there is no trust.
I personally would like to know how many times politicians get the chance to shove a spoonful of "I know what is right for our country" into our faces.
As with all relationships, even a small amount of lost trust can be devastating.
How often do they get to say, "Go ahead and take it, you can trust me," to later find out they shouldn't have been trusted with our hopes?
As voters, we have to decide whom among the political candidates we trust to do what is right for our country and all its resources. It is a tough decision, and one that can't be made with a blind eye or a child's winter coat hood over our face.
Politicians need to remember that we deserve the right to be able to trust a candidate.
It would be great, when the question of "trust" came up during a future election, that we could cast our votes and say, "I trust you because I know that you've got my back."