Learning to Mistrust

Innocence

New life knows nothing. We arrive innocent, free of intent, open to everything. The gradual process of learning begins when newborns instinctively react to hunger. The quest for survival is exhibited in the relentless need to feed. The healthy newborns miraculous ability to make his needs known by vocalizing begins with the first cries at birth. All new parents know the joy, the relief, the love, at that first glorious cry announcing a new life. This tiny new person is just beginning his journey in learning to trust. His needs met, time and again, or not, he will form the ability to trust, or not.

My beginnings were idyllic. Treated like gold, handled with kid gloves, my sister, brother and I never went without. As a result, even today as a mature adult, I am shocked at the wrongs committed indiscriminately by so many, the violence and the maliciousness conceived and perpetrated against humanity. The news appalls me with brutalities against man and beast beyond the scope of my imagination.

Oh, grow up

Nature and nurture combined to give me a special affinity for the underdog. My father's kindness and example of "there but for the grace of God, go I" was evident in his path on this earth. He wasn't treated as kindly as he treated others, but he remained generous to a fault until the day he left this earth. I miss him, but still feel his presence, especially through trials and difficult times. The advice he occasionally gave me revolved around the theme of "getting thicker skinned". He worried because I took everything to heart. I adopted the idea that everyone else was always right and, if there was something wrong, it was with me.  I believed everyone was as reliable, loyal and trustworthy as my parents. I had learned the lesson to trust too well.

The Awakening

I approached life as challenging, but charmed. I have often been the recipient of comments about my "great attitude" and my ever present smile. But, there is no magic in the ability to smile when everything goes your way.  I look at it now as an unawareness, selfishness even, sailing through life, not really committed to anything, keeping loses at bay through minimizing the importance of events. But now, well into middle age, and having personally experienced what many have lived with a long time, I am ashamed at my uninvolvement, my inability to see clearly the intolerance, the hate, the pain that man inflicts upon man.

When I was in school learning about the Holocaust, slavery, the American Indian and the atrocities inflicted on man, I shielded myself from the reality as if it was just a story. There are lessons to be learned by someone else's reality. It is inhumane and dehumanizing to turn a blind eye to ugliness that has, or will affect the world. The acknowledgement of these realities, events that destroy lives and shape the future for all, must be felt, studied, and understood to facilitate change through empathy. We are our brother's keeper.

As an adult, I discovered a voice through many published "Letters to the Editor" in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I felt more vital than any other time in my life. I had "plugged into" life. I was learning to mistrust. No longer would the promises at election time be taken at their word. I was learning to trust myself.

Holocaust Documentary

Slavery in America

History repeats itself

The news today, October 1, 2010, does not bode well for confidence in the American government. The discovery of these diabolical, damaging facts illustrates one more example of the well-earned mistrust the public has for the government. It is difficult to have faith in our democracy and it's leaders in learning of the desecrating victimization of unknowing, Guatemalan prisoners and mentally ill, who were subjected to secret medical experimentation. The story reveals that between 1946 to 1948 nearly 700 victims were injected with STDs, gonorrhea and syphilis, all over their bodies, including directly into their spines. Some of this experimentation involved Guatemalan prostitutes, who then took the diseases into the community. Some were treated for the diseases, but many were left to suffer the consequences without knowledge of having been intentionally infected.

These crimes against humanity, which were carried out secretly by the U.S. government, are being reported today by the media for what they are, completely reprehensible and indefensible acts. Senators Hillary Clinton and Sebelius have been handed the task of delivering the apologies. NBC Chief Medical Correspondent and reporter, Robert Bazell, states the mission is to never repeat this type of unethical medical research again. Accountability and resolution involving compensation are steps toward regaining face, but the damage is done and cannot be reversed.

It is understood that these actions, committed in 1946 to 1948, were without merit and were hidden until their recent "serendipitous" discovery. Aside from the insipid, understatement that the goal is to never repeat this type of medical experiment, this uncovering illustrates the rationale for the mistrust and fear of our government. Through the years, the hidden agendas of the powers that be have taught us to mistrust. Each atrocity brought to light, and I believe there are many more yet unknown, casts aspersions on our view of our government. Rightfully so, and so it goes....it seems the government has not yet learned a fundamental truth....that trust is earned.

Another Governmental Catastrophe

9 comments

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

How true, and America has the nerve to point fingers at other countries while our own government pulls some very heinous crimes of their own. Very good hub and so true. Now America is rapidly becoming a third world country so greed has brought this country down and maybe the government's atrocities are catching up to them.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Exactly right, BobbiRant. You get it perfectly and so eloquently said. Thanks for your comments and feedback. I appreciate the time you take to really understand.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..oh how I love following you - I listen, I read, I learn - my mind and heart belongs to you - you teach me, I see new words, I gain insight and it's simply a wonderful thing to behold - lucky me the day I found you my friend - you see there are miracles in life to be had!!

And I always love the choice of your videos in order to make your point and drive the theme of your message home!!!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

And I turn your words to me back to you, because that is exactly how I feel about you, my most special friend.


iangb40 profile image

iangb40 6 years ago from Hamilton, Canada

I echo Epigramman when he says "I always love the choice of your videos in order to make your point and drive the message home." These are very interesting columns you've written, and you've gone deep within your "self' and had the courage to write about it. This is just my own personal take, so take it with a grain of salt. You did shield yourself by minimizing the importance of certain events. You shielded yourself from emotional intelligence too. Compassion and empathy mostly. Then you had an Awakening, or an Epiphany, and your emotional intelligence poured forth. You shielded yourself because you were so sensitive, not because you were selfish. Your father said you needed a thicker skin. Was he not saying to you, "You're too sensitive." Your columns speak volumes of how you really are a good person. Once you were liberated from your own shield, compassion, empathy, humility, courage, and love for humanity came as part of your awakening. When a person has a good intellect, but low emotional intelligence, they are almost half a person. But when a person has good intellect and emotional intelligence, then you have some one who is very special indeed. Your awakening has allowed you to blossom. You are now that person, Amy. I'll leave with this one. You may already know it. "Evil flourishes when good people do nothing." (I don't know the author of that line, but it definitely says a lot.) Note: Epigramman was the one who pointed you out to me, and I'm so glad he did.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

And I, as well, am so glad to have made your acquaintance through Colin. It is very rewarding when, as a writer, the reader is able to garner understanding at the soul level. You have an instinctive ability to subterfuge the surface and reach the gut of the writer. In the several comments I have had the pleasure of receiving from you, it is evident that you "see" the writer. I am very happy when I see one of your comments, before I even read them, I know I will learn something. This is invaluable to me. Thank you

I wanted to ask you a question. In one of your comments you mention cadence. Do you read poetry outloud? I had to in order to "hear" cadence...the beat. Is that something that can be done silently?


iangb40 profile image

iangb40 6 years ago from Hamilton, Canada

Thank you for the compliments, Amy. You've made my day! Regarding your question about cadence, I think poetry should be read out loud. Then you can really hear not only the cadence, but if there's a "hitch" in one of your verses. You can also read it silently, within your mind, but I believe reading your verses out loud is the best way to go. I also read my fiction out loud as well. If there's a hitch, or misplaced punctuation, I will definitely hear it. Anything that makes me pause is a clear indication that it's an imposition on the reader, or worse, bad writing. I also think a "cooling off" period is a good thing to do as well. Do you do that with your writing? When you write your column or poem, you can leave it for a day or even a few hours, then come back to it with fresh eyes. I'm always amazed at what I missed before the cooling off period. Usually little things, verb tense, or a misplaced word. It's just my opinion, but you can read your poems or prose silently, but I think it's much better when you read them out loud. And thank you for the compliments, they mean a lot to me. I'd like to ask you a question. Who are your favourite writers? If you could name a couple of your favourite poets and prose writers that would be great. I'm just a bit of a snoop, that's all. Thanks again, Amy, for everything. Have a great day! (Isn't Epigramman a great guy, and a wonderful writer too? I've known him well over 10 years now. We worked together at the Hamilton Spectator city newspaper for eight years. He's a very special guy. He cares about people, is definitely unique, and has a first rate intellect.)


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

No, I've never implimented "cooling off". I am so fired up by the time I write my piece, I can't wait to get it out there (as is probably apparent). Even if I am stirred up by an incident of some kind, if I wait to express myself, I will lose momentum and the fire under me just peters out. Of course, I try to remain composed, and check and recheck everything before hitting the button to publish, but even at that, once in a while I'll notice some formatting changes/glitches that occur upon publishing. Well, Ian, I am borrowing a computer as mine crashed, so I will say so long for now. Thank you for your invaluable ideas. Once I'm connected to the world again, I will re-read and give your comments my undivided attention, as they deserve.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Dear Ian, I am ashamed to say I don't have any favorite poets as I've not educated myself in the art. I merely started writing a few here recently from the gut. I am not well read enough to qualify poets. I actually find it difficult to understand as it is such a personal art form. I think I understand any given poem, but understanding is subjective in many cases. The poetry is as unique, of course, as the writer, so much of the understanding feels to me like surmising. For me, it is a difficult line between art and too obtuse to be recognizable. No? Who do you enjoy? I would appreciate some recommendations.

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    3 comments

    Rebecca E. profile image

    Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

    a very interesting hub, and pwoerful as well.


    Amy Becherer profile image

    Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

    Thanks for your comments and taking the time to read my hub. Later tonight when my doggie isn't waiting to go out, I am going to read some of your hubs. They look like something I need to check out to learn more about the keypoints of hubbing. I'm learning something relevant everyday.


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    Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

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