As in recent days I watched the blowhard performance of Mr. Trump’s press conference and the confirmation of Mr. Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, I had to ask myself the salient question: How could it come to this? A similar question could be asked of the decline of Germany in the 1930s into National Socialism – the roots are certainly similar. But the Germans had the excuse, if you want to call it that, of a devastating depression brought on, not only by the global depression, but the levying of war reparations by the allied powers that left the government bankrupt. The fact is that Americans do not have any excuse. They live in the wealthiest country on earth with one of the highest standards of living and a system of universal education. So we don’t have an excuse. I’m afraid we have to look elsewhere.
Here’s what I conclude. You and I did it by ceding the political action to others. Politics is nasty stuff. People call names. They get in your face. They get belligerent. As long as things were going moderately well, we stayed out of it. And collectively, because no one of us is all that influential, but collectively we gradually ceded power to a group of right-wing ideologues, a particularly nasty group that bathed in their own ignorance and fed themselves lies, financed by a group of right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers who have been using the power vacuum to feather their own nests. Even the ideological center and left, the core of the Democratic party, became dominated by the financial powers. When Hillary Clinton was tainted by her speaking fees to Goldman Sachs, the charge stuck because the Clintons and the establishment party of the Democrats are also in hock to Wall Street.
So, if we want to take back our country, if we look to the possibilities of a country concerned about social justice, and health care, and the environment, possibilities that are already realities in much of Europe, there is only one way to get there. You and I have to do it. I think we have the numbers. As I’ve said before, we are better than this. The responsibility is ours. Let’s make it happen.