As an activist contending for individual rights, beginning with the Tea Party movement in 2009 and continuing in and around the Republican Party in subsequent election cycles, I’ve noted increasing levels of apathy and disengagement. Oddly, it doesn’t seem confined to those on the right side of the political spectrum. Note how Occupy flamed out, how Tea Party rallies have become sparse and lightly attended. The hip trend has become “removing consent,” which is libertarian shorthand for taking your ball and going home.
Writing for Mother Jones, Tom Engelhardt attempts to piece together a functional explanation of this “moment”:
… this period doesn’t represent a version, no matter how perverse or extreme, of politics as usual; nor is the 2016 campaign an election as usual; nor are we experiencing Washington as usual. Put together our 1 percent elections, the privatization of our government, the de-legitimization of Congress and the presidency, as well as the empowerment of the national security state and the US military, and add in the demobilization of the American public (in the name of protecting us from terrorism), and you have something like a new ballgame.
If you can bring yourself to look past Engelhardt’s thinly veiled politics, his analysis of these trends transcends partisan ideological debate. Just as the Occupy and Tea Party movements cited many of the same complaints while prescribing vastly different solutions, this piece from Mother Jones acknowledges problems which should concern all of us — no matter our politics.