The story says that to tell the difference between ‘believe’ and ‘trust’ you need to watch a tightrope walker pass five times in a row over a cable between two high-rise buildings. It would be one thing to answer if we ‘think’ it could cross a sixth time; and another, very different, if we ‘trust’ that he will be able to go through the rope again but now with us on his shoulders.
Given our context, it seems that it should be very difficult for us Mexicans both to believe and to trust; but it is curious how much we continue to believe and also trust people, structures and institutions that, clearly, have systematically betrayed our trust.
The premiere of the documentary “The Cassez-Vallarta case: A criminal novel” once again confronts us with a paradigmatic episode of the perverse way in which the government, the media and the judicial system tend to present, accommodate and even distort reality for the purpose of self-preservation or self-indulgence.
However, we should not look at the phenomenon accusing the institutional condition of betraying the truth (because walls do not usually have intentions or interests) but understanding that it has been the human and fallible nature of officials, policemen, journalists, the operators, the judges and lawyers through their motivations, conveniences, fears or pressures which made this swarm of intrigues grow.
The narrative of the documentary insists that none of the characters involved in that episode is completely worthy of credibility. Perhaps only a couple of journalists and researchers who put professional ethics before success or utilitarian spectacle deserve credibility and trust; or a couple of intellectuals who, without any prejudice, contemplate the development of events, doubted and even today continue to ask themselves questions about it.
The disturbing thing is that the documentary piece reminds us that those characters who evidently withheld or perverted information to protect their image, profit and convenience still enjoy credibility and even trust among the respectable. Why? For what is this?
Let’s look at another example. Last week, during the section of the morning conference of the Presidency of the Republic that aims to reveal the lies of political groups, the media and social figures, the López Obrador government flagrantly lied; the worst, absurdly. Through federal official Elizabeth García Vilchis, the government accused former President Felipe Calderón of lying on social digital networks when he warned of a sewage spill on the beaches of Acapulco. In the name of the highest Mexican authority (the official’s lack of ability cannot minimize the power from which the words are expressed), a citizen was accused of falsifying information with the intention of harming the administration in turn and stated that the event had occurred in Spain.
At the end of the episode, the Presidency of the Nation itself was forced to admit that, although Calderón made a mistake with the date, he did not mistake the location. He did not apologize, but he did correct the information that his official disclosed.
This issue is not a minor one because the current López Obrador administration considers it important that, from the empyrean of power in Mexico, the population be instructed in who they should believe and trust. The president’s advertising slogan (‘We are not the same’) aims to differentiate himself and his unconditional supporters from ‘those others’ whose essences of lies and corruption are almost connatural. The exercise of permanent social communication through the morning conferences of this administration is one of the most effective models of education of political perception that any government has devised, but it also has its weaknesses and the frequency with which they must be retracted or corrected is very high. And yet, despite the blunders and multiple mistakes, this administration still enjoys credibility and even trust among the people. Again: Why? For what is this?
Evidently, the Cassez-Vallarta case and the Acapulco spill blunder have immense distances, they are truly incontestable and it is hateful that they appear together in this text; however, they do reflect a curious aspect of power and communication. Everything seems to indicate that from power, the recovery of credibility and trust is extremely simple.
Psychologists say that, more than to trust, we learn to distrust in the course of our lives. Distrust is also one of the most important skills to protect yourself and survive; And yet, for the good of the society in which we are immersed, we need to continue trusting and believing: in others, in the intermediate institutions of society and, yes, also in the structures of great social management.
Credibility and trust are social facilitators, they economize procedures and open horizons, temper passions and look to the future. The classic says that great trust forces and motivates the one to whom it is dispensed to prove himself worthy of it and to justify it in the future.
That is to say: That the Mexican people, against their better judgment -and sometimes even their well-being-, continue to believe and trust is sufficient proof of what they are willing to sacrifice for the common good: that is the tightrope and we continue to trust. that no matter who’s doing the tightrope walk, we’ll somehow cross the abyss.