George Shultz, who served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Reagan for six years, turned 100 last week. On his birthday Secretary Shultz, now a Distinguished Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, wrote a column in the Washington Post entitled, “The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years.” In it, Shultz pronounced, “Trust is the coin of the realm.” When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.”
Shultz wrote this as we Americans are experiencing the lowest level of trust nationally between our political parties, and sometimes within one of our parties, since the Civil War era. And even after the votes in the presidential election were counted, and counted again, the level of trust was so low that the losing candidate, and much of his party, not only rejected that outcome, but declined to criticize abusive and threating statements aimed at the civic officials involved in the count-counting process, often Republican elected officials.