The Limit of Trust

I find it super-difficult to tell the stories of “White House Down” and “Olympus Has Fallen” apart. Movies, actually. This difficulty stems from the fact that they told a similar story – albeit different lines: how the White House was captured and how some superhero from within turned things around. I’m particularly confused right now because I want to pick out something from one of the two movies but can’t exactly say which is which. Moreover, I’m counting on the assumption that it’s rare to find someone who’s seen one and not the other.

If you’ve seen both movies, then let’s do this together: Which of the movies has Bernie, the ex-Secret Service agent that eventually saved the day; the one that has little Connor as Mr. President’s son, who’d lost his mum at the start of the movie? You, tell me… That’s the one from which I intend to borrow a leaf.

If you’ve seen that particular movie, did you catch the scene where the defense person was gisting Bernie why the terrorists were very interested in getting Connor, the President’s son, and why he must be found and evacuated before they ever get to him? In case you missed it, this is why: There’s a clause in the constitution that relieves the president of his oath of office when he has to choose between doing his job and protecting his family. Notice that the South Korean terrorists didn’t bother asking for his severance code; they were busy looking for his son. They already knew that any American president, including Trump, would gladly give his or her life to keep the American people safe.

I just love the ‘realness’ of the writers of a constitution that permits the president to give out the most important password in the world to terrorists in order to keep his immediate family safe. There’s a limit to the trust they’d given him in the first place; they don’t expect too much from him.

And so, when next you accuse someone of betraying you, it is only fair that you evaluate the circumstances that led to that betrayal. What was at stake? What were the available options, what choice did they make, and who is/are the beneficiaries of that choice? Trust me, sometimes you’d just discover that you’d have done worse than he or she did should you have been in their shoes.

My point exactly: Be fair to those you trust. Don’t use your trust to rob them of our shared flawed humanity, of their right to self-preservation when their very own life is at stake, of their right to mercy when they screw up.

Your No.1 fan,

PS. This is not a call to condone betrayal of trust. This is only a way to happiness.

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