When Jack Nicholson’s Joker joyfully exclaimed, “It’s time for ‘Who do you trust?’” in the 1991 film “Batman,” he was asking Gotham City to make a choice between him, a man looking to inflict pain and chaos on his fellow citizens through intimidation, and the one he dismissively called “the Bat-man,” a public servant, really a misunderstood disguised billionaire traipsing around with all sorts of luxurious weaponry, intent on ridding his beloved city from the sloth determined to destroy it.
Yes, even comic book movies can serve as metaphors for current events. The many issues we find ourselves debating today boil down to a gut feeling of trust.
Do we trust the rebel forces in Syria, struggling now for years to fight back against the Bashar Assad regime, with weapons and support? Do we trust the Iraqis to stand up and protect themselves from the growing threat of ISIS? Do we trust our allies to step up and take a more active role in combat and air missions? Or will we find ourselves sending American troops back to the desert terrain?
Do we trust Iran to only use nuclear technology for energy? Do we trust the Chinese to take human rights seriously? Do we trust our Arab and European allies to enlist in the fight to rid the world of terror?
In many of these cases, it’s difficult to ascertain not only who to trust more, but whether either of the parties is trustworthy. Take a simple stroll around the World Wide Web, and there will be plenty of content to back up any and every belief under the sun.
The issue of trust will be at the center of the 2016 presidential election. Candidates will have to decide who to trust when formulating policy on the issues above, but so too will voters. We will have to decide who to trust with the biggest decisions facing our state, nation and the world.
A few months ago, I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s problem with authenticity. She, as President Barack Obama once put it, comes off “likable enough,” but struggles to reflect who she really is at her core. And that was reinforced with news last week that 57 percent of Americans in a CNN poll find her to not be “honest and trustworthy.”
If we can’t trust her to be upfront with us, how can we trust her to handle the scenarios above? If we don’t know who Hillary Clinton is, how can we be so sure she will answer the Joker’s question correctly?