The people who say once we get rid of Trump we'll be okay are part of the problem. The damage to our country--to our system of law, our courts, our economy, our society--is the result of decades of GOP-led work on behalf of their benefactors among the rich & the corp. world.
It is the result of their tapping into hatreds and fears among a wide cross-section of Americans--who are therefore complicit in this problem and will not magically disappear come next November.
There is no sign the feed-our-racism-and-we-will-fill-your-bank-accounts contract shows any sign of being being broken. Further, the large numbers of Democrats who have enabled the right's perversion of what America is and stands for remain in power.
Democratic appeasement of the Republican onslaught against equality, fairness, progress, international leadership and the law, like ethno-nationalist GOP voters empowering its leaders agenda of rapine, is a central cause for the growing inequality & US decline of the past 40 yrs.
In short, in our system, in a democracy, the authority lies with the people and therefore the responsibility also lies with those people. Just as we ridicule Trump's infantile denial of responsibility for the catastrophic mishandling of the pandemic...
...we must not spare our contempt for the laziness, willful ignorance, apathy, and misjudgments of the American voter for the past 40 years. We have been fat and happy and we have failed to rise to the most basic responsibilities of our citizenship.
Many of us have failed even to vote. Many who voted did so out of ignorance or grievance, failing to meet the minimal requirements a citizen in democracy has to educate themselves with reliable facts and insights. Many who elected bad representatives, tolerated their failings.
As rights were paired away from us, as the rich gained disproportionate power over our system via decision like Citizens United, as our courts were turned systematically into political tools, as votes were suppressed, as districts were gerrymandered, Americans yawned.
Some even cheered thinking these changes a win for "their side" without asking what they meant in the long run for our system, our institutions, their neighbors or our standing in the world. That has brought us to where we are today.
It has brought us to the betrayals and failures and incompetence and corruption not just of Trump but of Barr and McConnell and McCarthy and governors in red states across America who have sacrificed their people to their dogma, confusing science and politics.
It has brought us to corrupted courts and unfair elections. It has created the window of opportunity for Russian intervention in our elections and support for the defense and even the rewarding of those Russians despite its cost in American lives and to our entire society.
We must, of course, be rid of Trump. We must of course, be rid of Barr and McConnell and McCarthy and the lot. We must hold them accountable for their crimes. But to undo the damage they have done we must acknowledge who, in our system, is responsible for it.
As Pogo creator Walt Kelly wrote, "We have met the enemy and he is us." November must be the first step to right our wrongs. But we must also recognize that without an educated, engaged, committed, citizenry who seek out facts and demand results, we will falter and fail.
The system introduced by the Founders put the greatest burden of responsibility not on presidents or Senators or Congressmen or judges but on those to whom all of those people reported and to whom all those people owed their loyalty: to voters.
We must remake that electorate, bring in the young who do not vote, include the disenfranchised the GOP has sought to keep out, teach them all to weed out the propaganda & lies from the media and from politicians, make it easier to vote, make it matter more to be a good citizen.
Only then--after doing what is right in November to be sure, but recognizing this process will take years and commitment and funding and raised consciousness and self-awareness--can we be confident we can once again set America on a course to growth and to greatness.
You can follow @djrothkopf.
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