A couple of years ago an associate of mine (someone I'd had many political discussions with over the years and though he leaned to the right on many issues he was open to thoughts and ideas coming from the progressive left) when visiting and seeing some copies of "The New York Review of Books" lying about asked if he could borrow a few copies. I suggested some issues with articles that had a personal impact on me (thinking they might be enlightening and have a similar impact on him).
Some months later he returned the borrowed copies and I asked what did he think of them and he replied, "I just don't care enough" (saying he hadn't read any of them).
His remark was both stunning and unexpected. It has never left me or been far from my consciousness. It was an honest admission and though it may be dangerous to take one person's idle remark and generalize it to a population, I believe it revealed a place where many (most?) Americans mentally reside.
From here it was always felt that during economic "good times" in America, despite the greed and excess, the people would never rebel, particularly the middle class when it was feeling well off.
I believed there would have to be a severe economic dislocation that affected millions where people were desperate and in personal dire straits for most Americans to wake up and realize they'd been had and realize that the country had been usurped by the plutocrats who reigned and whose tentacles reached into everything and everybody.
Well since the fall of 2008 we've had that great economic dislocation affecting millions of Americans who are in desperate straits with mortgage foreclosures and widespread unemployment. We've also seen the financial geniuses' who created the crisis get bailed out and made whole again while feeding at the public trough. We've seen them back to awarding grotesque compensation packages to the few at the corporate pinnacle while millions continue to suffer.
Most recently (during this current tax season) we've learned that the likes of corporate behemoths like G.E. and Exxon Mobil pay no taxes at all.
Meanwhile the disparity in income between the top 1% and the rest of us is greater than existed during the "gilded age" of the 1890's where the so called "robber barons" i.e. Rockefeller's and Carnegies reigned over the landscape.
Now it's the Koch Bros., Charles and David of Koch Industries and their right wing agenda, the Chamber of Commerce and its hidden list of corporate donors, Home Depot, Wal Mart and other big box behemoths that figuratively and in actuality litter the landscape. Now the Supreme Court has given them complete license to use their largesse to dominate and corrupt the electoral process at all levels of government.
One would think it all has become too much to bear. But au contraire, such is not the case.
Alas, too many middle class Americans are not in desperate straits. Many remain snug in their modest suburban redoubts or aloof in their gentrified urban enclaves, disconnected, disinterested and unsympathetic to the plight of other Americans that have been devastated and broken by the current economic maelstrom.
Sadly, the reality is "we just don't care enough".