Gallup, Pew, and other reputable polling institutes have been lock-step in reporting the precipitous decline of American trust in the country’s institutions over the past few years. Every survey examining public faith in our institutions to do what is right, to provide for the common good, or to simply function at all has hit rock bottom. Surprising? Not really – these dropping percentage points coincide with upticks in intense partisanship, erosion in our political process, and culture wars. And this is not, as the media would portray it, solely an income inequality issue; social mobility and opportunity issues yes, but the biggest factor in this mistrust is the widening cultural gap between the new elites, and the rest of the US’ population. What can be done? It is imperative that students are educated in civics and history and maintain a respect for the institutions that are meant to provide for them. And most importantly, it is high time for real leaders to step up, recognize and fix these corrosive problems.