"Did we get tired or did we just get lazy?"
I stole that line from "Lyin' Eyes" by the Eagles, and changed around a few pronouns. But I stand by the question. When it came to participating in the success of our country, did we get tired or did we just get lazy?
How did we allow one person, who never even employed clever Constitutional minutiae or brilliant legal ingenuity, but simply blunt force, to undo 250 years of what had been the world’s most enduring and stable liberal republican democracy?
And how did we allow the only watchdog system we had—legislative and judicial—to become mere enablers, no longer interested in/or committed to preserving the Constitution, or even the presidency, but only the president—this president.
Tired or lazy?
How did we allow a reactionary, illiberal, and quasi-religious cabal, which in no way represents the majority of what most Americans believe (concerning health insurance, gun control, the right to choose, separation of church and state) to steal an election and exploit that victory to rend the basic fabric of this country, toss away the remnants, and build a new autocracy?
And how did we ever allow this ever diminishing group of craven, intellectually limited aristocrats, men and women whose knowledge of government is merely a veneer, to drag this country into this crisis?
Tired or lazy?
How did we become such poor stewards of our country that we have had to entrust our futures—and our very lives—to people who find themselves so lost in the confusion of complexity, that they can do nothing other than worsen the situation. Jared Kushner? Ivanka Trump? Is this what Trump voters signed up for in 2016? Blank looks and false statements? Amateurs bumbling through a crisis that demands proficiency?
How did we, educated and stable and democratic—the nation other nations emulated—how did we let this happen? Were we tired or lazy, or just smug?
If you’re going to jump to the end of this to get my answer, don’t. I don’t have one. All I know is that in 2016, some 60 million Americans did something they would never do in real life: hired the less qualified applicant—hired a television huckster instead of someone prepared for the presidency. They passed over a woman who would have had government positions filled by competent people—professionals who would not only have seen this crisis coming, but actually done something to prepare for it. Instead they put their faith in the master of bankruptcy and moral degeneracy. Whether we chalk it up to misogyny or call it the final upshot of Ken Starr’s 90s vendetta, I don't know. It hardly matters now.
I do know this. Trump will kill us all and not bat an eye if it means that he can win the election in November. He'll continue to lie to us and enlist the staid and dignified (but equally mendacious and bigoted) Mike Pence to validate those lies. Nothing but the election matters to Trump—not the nurses and doctors to whom he pays lip service every day, not the victims dying in hospitals, not their family members. If he can still find time enough to insult reporters and fire watchdogs—in short, eliminate anyone who knows him to be the venal predator he has always been—then he cannot guide the country.
There are those who have been neither tired nor lazy. They are the investigative reporters who have provided the only factual rebuttals to Trump's dishonesty and lawlessness. He hates them—reason enough for me to urge you again, even in these poor financial times, to subscribe to an online newspaper—a good one: The Times, the Post, the Globe, others. If you already subscribe, convince someone else to do the same. Newspapers are hurting with advertising down, and you can be sure that none of the Trump trillions will be earmarked to help them. (Plague or not, someone drops the Courant in my driveway every morning—they're still on the job.)
To exhume a popular 90s phrase, the truth is out there, but getting it from there to here is the only way we’ll ever make wiser decisions in the future. Maybe we were tired and lazy: maybe we can learn from it.