Long before COVID-19 became a thing, America was already experiencing terrible strains on the credibility of traditional institutions like legislatures, the press, religion and even health care.
Politics have played a leading role in the erosion of institutional trust in this country.
A May Newsweek article claimed President Donald Trump’s approval rating stood at 43%. Congress came in distant second at 32%.
Many national media publications are regularly labeled “fake news” by the president and his supporters.
Even our health care systems have been accused of juicing the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths for financial gain.
Who do you trust? Who can you trust in times like these?
Part of Americans’ lack of trust comes from the fact that we no longer consume information the way we used to. Most information is accumulated through sound bites, Facebook posts and reading headlines instead of complete news articles.
Many Americans subscribe to extremely partisan “news” sites that only serve to confirm their own personal belief systems instead of properly informing the reader.
There’s so much noise out there, it’s hard to drill down to what’s truthful and what’s patently false.
Politicians don’t help. In fact, the more they interject, the less people believe.
Indianola’s business community is big on the concept of “Shop Local.”
Allow us to introduce a new concept this week, and that is Trust Local.
Just as we shopped local during the shelter-in-place order to keep our economy going, we should seek out local sources for information that will get us through the next tough phase of this pandemic.
Since the start of this pandemic, The E-T has been careful not to offer medical advice.
Rather, we have relied on the word of our local doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses to inform the community on the best measures to take.
We will continue to do so.
And our local doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses all say that we need to wear masks when we are in public places or at gatherings.
That’s Dr. Wade Dowell, Dr. Eddie Donahoe, Dr. Katie Patterson, Dr. Erik Lessman, Dr. Chad Dowell, Dr. Kelsey Dowell and Dr. Hannah Ray.
These are the medical professionals we go to when we are sick. We trust them to give us a proper evaluation and the best prescription for what ails us.
Right now, they are prescribing masks and social distancing to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Not one of them will tell you that masks are a 100% preventative measure for stopping the virus. It’s simply the best prescription the medical community has at this time.
It should not take an order from the governor or even a potential fine to compel us to wear masks and practice social distancing.
We should trust our local authorities and health care experts on the matter.
Trust your local doctor, your nurse practitioner and your nurses. Trust your local business owners who are enforcing the enhanced restrictions. Trust your local coroner who has been called out for all of the deaths that have occurred in this county due to COVID-19. Trust your local pastor. Trust your local newspaper.
None of these are infallible, but if we find we can’t trust these sources of information, we’re in a lot of trouble.