An unfortunate reality of current political life is that few topics today generate overwhelming support or condemnation. We are clearly divided in this great nation over issues large and small.
But now - at long last - comes one topic that has gathered nearly 80 percent agreement among the American public. Unfortunately that massive rallying issue is our universal distrust of the federal government.
A new poll by a nonpartisan group shows that 8 out of 10 Americans lack faith in our federal government to solve the issues of the day.
It wasn't too long ago that I opined in this column that the driving force of the day was our general lack of confidence in the federal government. I was wrong. There is a substantial difference between lacking confidence and lacking trust.
If we now by massive margins lack trust in our elected officials, that is a genuine problem. We may not always agree but we need trust in those who serve our needs. Today that trust is absent.
For those rabid Obama supporters, let me quickly point out that the issue of trust is not solely an issue with the current administration. Not by a mile. There has been a growing lack of trust with government at all levels for decades.
But today's level of concern is off the radar screen of public sentiment.
From today's perspective it's easy to point a finger at the back room deals this administration crafted to garner support for the health care overhaul. Or the recess appointments. Or the rush to redistribute wealth in every fashion imaginable.
But some of this blame also springs from the fringes of the tea party movement who see conspiracies where none exist.
Mix together a rush to expand the role of government in our lives with an equal amount of concern for anything the federal government does and you have the recipe for a distrustful public.
Although this new poll does not address the issue, I believe the mass media deserves ample blame for this growing distrust of government. Just roam around with your remote control and you will hear vocal argument both for and against the role of government expanding in our lives. It's that rhetoric that can become dangerous. And it is equally spewed by both sides of the political spectrum.
Perhaps something good will come from this growing level of distrust. Maybe this unrest will lead to a more active voting public. In the end, only through elections can we replace those we distrust with those we trust.
Come November, that may well happen.