Alarming Public Perceptions

Corruption 'Widespread' In Government


Two Gallup polls released in the last 60 days reveal some distressing long-term American views of their government.

In the first, and overwhelming 75 percent of Americans feel that corruption is “widespread throughout the government in this country.”  That opinion is up from 67 percent in 2007 and 66 percent in 2009, and has remained between 73 and 79 percent since 2010.  Gallup notes a number of scandals, incidents, reports, at all levels of government fuel this public sentiment.

A second Gallup poll found that 49 percent of Americans think the federal government “poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”  That response is up  from 30 percent in 2003, and has remained at least at 44 percent since 2006.  The opinions measured in this survey were decidedly partisan.  Republicans predominantly complaining about such threats with a Democrat in the White House and vice versa, though that feeling is stronger among Republicans during the Obama administration than it was among Democrats during the Bush administration.

The other half of the country, in regard to the second survey, does not see any “immediate threat to their rights.”  When asked about how the government constituted a threat to personal rights and freedoms, the most common responses were that government is too big or there are too many laws (19 percent), violations of freedoms or civil liberties (15 percent), gun control or Second Amendment violations (12 percent), and too much involvement in people’s private lives (10 percent).

The closer government is to us the more we trust it, participate in it, and have a stake in its operations.  The same goes for school.  Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education provider, has great success rescuing the formerly traditional public high school unsuccessful by providing personalized, caring instruction and guidance, with extra support when needed resulting in student accountability and responsibility.  Horizonte is opportunity.