On Tuesday, November 10th, a week after Election Day 2020, and days after Joe Biden was announced President-elect, Dr. Jim White welcomed award-winning author and fellow Vietnam veteran, Ron Winter to the program. In the second half of Healing American with Dr. Jim White, Jim and Ron discussed Veteran’s Day, Vietnam, books and politics, but before that Dr. White offered his listeners a mini-lesson on building trust. 

“A law in ancient Rome required the engineer who built an arch to be the first person to stand beneath it,” White told the audience, emphasizing the importance of trust when it comes to our interpersonal relationships.

The unspoken code of the trust deficit impacts engagement, productivity, creativity, discretionary efforts, and economic recovery. None of us can change the trust trajectory of others, but we can change our town. Sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes things don’t work the way we expect them to. Sometimes things happen out of our control, causing commitments not to be honored. Are there disappointments? Yes. Is there diminished trust? Maybe, if it occurs over and over. A study at the Wharton School suggests that trust can be restored if a person sees a consistent series of trustworthy acts, and lying is what most people consider to be a betrayal of trust.

“The unspoken code of the trust deficit impacts engagement, productivity, creativity, discretionary efforts, and economic recovery.”
Jim White

We need authentic trust in our workplaces, all levels of government, and between friends and family. Authentic trust develops through critical thought and experience paired with accountability. Relationships matter more than outcomes to people who practice authentic trust.

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Dr. White offered five tips for garnering authentic trust:

  • Be like the Roman engineer: Whatever your work is, operate as if you must publicly stand for the results. Trust can’t be restored without personal accountability grounded in consistent and trustworthy actions. This includes acknowledging that trust was broken when it occurs.
  • Own your role in what happened: We all make mistakes and hurt people unintentionally. We all impact relationships with our actions and inactions. To restore trust, own what you’ve done to break trust.
  • Operate with an inner mirror: Let yourself be yourself. Are you honoring your commitments and fulfilling your promises? Would you trust you? Recognize the power of behavioral integrity. Words matter and can be a weapon.
  • Restart the trust: Trust is an action, and someone must restart the trust. Who will restart the trust in America? President elect Joe Biden is trying, but he has a long road ahead of him.
  •  Get trust by giving trust: We don’t become loved by just being lovable. We must love in order to be loved, and we must give trust in order to receive it.
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In the bottom half of the hour, White was joined by Ronald Winter, the author of four books including Victory Betrayed, a nonfiction account of the Vietnam War. While in Vietnam, Ron flew more than 300 missions as an aerial gunner and was awarded 15 air medals and combat aircrew wings with 3 stars. He spent 20 years as a print journalist, earning numerous awards for his investigative journalism. He is an adjunct professor of communications and public speaking. Highlights of their conversation are below:

JW: What does Veteran’s Day mean to you?

RW: A lot of things, actually. It’s one time when – I’m not really a big fan of people putting it all into one day. I’d rather it be 365 days, but I learned after Vietnam that you take what you can get. So, it’s nice, it’s very nice. Last year before COVID, my wife took me out to a restaurant with a buy one get one free and I had a great steak for lunch. There were probably 300 veterans there, I felt like I was back at Camp Lejeune.

JW: You’ve got a new book, Victory Betrayed, tell us about it.

RW: Originally, I was asked by the United States Marine Corps Heritage Foundation to do a story, to do a book on Operation Dewey Canyon, which occurred from January – March 1969. We had identified that area as becoming the main infiltration route off the Ho Chi Minh trail. We were fortunate that that operation was commanded by a general named Raymond Davis, who was a Medal of Honor recipient at the Chosin Reservoir in WWII. He had come to Vietnam at the same time I came, which was with my entire unit, and he took apart everything that had been going on in the previous year. That probably saved a lot of our lives. It’s been written a lot about, and what they asked me to do was to do an update for the 50th anniversary of that battle, and they wanted 60% previously published material and 40% new material. Most of the previously published material had come through the Marine Corps history division, which is down in Quantico.

JW: What lessons do you think we Americans have learned from Vietnam?

RW: Sometimes I’m not sure we’ve learned any lessons from Vietnam. One of the things, and this goes to your book, I honestly believe we have abilities to communicate and travel that we didn’t even have back then. One of the things I always felt about Vietnam – I was very fortunate, in that I got to know some Vietnamese people while I was there. And I liked them immensely, and I’m pretty sure a lot of them are dead. When people can vote in a capital twelve thousand miles away, they can say “oh yeah, forget them, their government’s corrupt.” It always cracked me up to hear Congress calling someone else’s government corrupt, but anyway. If you knew those people, you wouldn’t feel that way. They’re human beings. We should start using our newfound transportation and communication to get to know people.

JW: What are some of your next projects?

RW: Get the book at ronaldwinterbooks.com or Amazon. Right now, I just want to market Victory Betrayed. I wish I could get out and talk to people, I love doing that and haven’t been able to. I want people to know there was victory right in our hands, and it was taken out of them and put into politics.

To catch the entire interview, visit authorjimwhite.com/webinars. To buy your copy of Victory Betrayed, visit ronaldwinterbooks.com and don’t forget to order your copy of Broken America.

Next week, join Dr. White as he interviews professor of political science at Columbia University, Robert Shapiro.