Guest / Limited Access /

If you hold your ear close to the ground in Washington, D.C., the rumble you will hear is not the Metro but a populist rage hurtling like a railroad train toward the Capitol.

Americans have by and large lost faith in their institutions, and the evidence is everywhere. According to a CBS News poll, at the beginning of the new millennium, 45 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing most of the time. Now less than a quarter do so. A January 2010 joint poll by NBC and The Wall Street Journal found that the percentage of people who view the President negatively has nearly doubled in a year's time. Approval ratings for Congress were even lower: 21 percent.

In some respects, the distrust is justified. Hurricane Katrina was a blow that the Bush Administration never fully recovered from. A cumbersome government bureaucracy too slow in providing help shattered citizens' faith in government's effectiveness.

But the ineffectiveness of government was magnified in the case of the Nigerian terrorist who almost brought down a Northwest airliner headed for Detroit in December.Brave passengers, not a massive government apparatus,thwarted him. In the postmortem, we discovered that despite a multitrillion-dollar campaign to protect citizens against terrorism, and the fact that the visa office in Lagos, Nigeria, had been warned that Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab was dangerous, it issued him a visa anyway. Appalling.

The bigger that government gets, the further it grows away from the people. From the massive expansion of health care to increased environmental controls, higher taxes, and mind-numbing budget deficits, people feel overwhelmed and powerless. It doesn't help when Congress closes its doors to draw up the health-care bill ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow Boko Haram's Murders and Kidnappings Are Changing Nigeria's Churches
How Boko Haram's Murders and Kidnappings Are Changing Nigeria's Churches
Leading Nigerian evangelical says Christians won’t abandon the North.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickMy Immigration Status: Beloved
My Immigration Status: Beloved
In Christ I am more than the ‘crime’ I committed at age 5.
Comments
Christianity Today
Channeling the Populist Rage
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.