There have been plenty of actions and events that make distrust a seemingly legitimate choice. I don't have to list all the times we have been disappointed over the last decade or so by the people and institutions that are charged with doing what is best for us. I get as angry and frustrated as anyone at the greed or simple stupidity of what has been going on for far too long.
Importantly the "us" means the country as a whole. It doesn't mean us versus them. It doesn't mean left versus right. It doesn't mean angling for a short term gain at the risk of a long term decline.
As a society we have lost the concept of compromise and shared community. Battle lines have been drawn in politics, in religion, in neighborhoods, in ethnic origin.....seemingly everywhere. But, a democracy can't function without a basic level of trust and compromise. If there is no desire to compromise there is no democracy possible.
Wikipedia gives this definition of democracy: a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws.
A minority attempting to change the mind of the majority is a good thing. That is part of democracy. Without that women still wouldn't be able to vote, and legal slavery would still be part of our culture. There would be no protection of children in the work place, and no minimum wage.
A minority attempting to force its will on the majority with threats ignores that key element of our form of government: compromise. Make no mistake: standing up for one's principals is crucial. Making one's views clear on an issue is our duty as a citizen of this country and the world. We must work through the system to attempt to change those things that are against our core beliefs. But, taking the position that it's either my way or no way is not how democracy works. In fact, it can't work. We can't legislate through threats or decide which laws we like and which laws we refuse to follow.
Heavens, without compromise marriages don't work, raising children doesn't work....relating to another person doesn't work....nothing works without some form of compromise. Nothing.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and eliminate the distrust and bad feelings that seems to be washing over our country. That isn't going to happen, so the only "bully pulpit" I have is my behavior and my writings here.
Do I trust my bank? I trust that my bank is in business to maximize its profits. I trust that my bank will be required to follow certain regulations to protect me from the worst of its actions. I accept that status when I use their services. I trust that the benefits to me are worth what I give up to them.
That's called a compromise.