“For whatever set of reasons”
“The reality is that government, for a long period of time, has for whatever set of reasons become less functional.” — Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, quoted in today’s NYT*
We’re in this mess “for whatever set of reasons” because venal, cynical Republicans didn’t step forth to do the most basic aspects of their jobs. Instead of talking back to polls and fear, they courted mobs and extremists. Instead of formulating policy, they took orders from ALEC and the Kochs and the NRA. They put forth candidates for the presidency of the United States who were under-qualified, corrupt ideologues, and expressed astonishment when a charismatic buffoon outperformed them. They refused to exercise any kind of leadership — moral, political, or other — that might possibly alienate bigots, extremists, and fools, because they recognized that these sorry specimens constituted their base. They treated the presidential election like a cheap commercial enterprise and considered only how they could profit most off the shoddiest product.
They found their shoddy product and they’ve made a bundle.
CEOs and business leaders looked to their best chance to increase their personal wealth at the expense of the public good, and the media generally agreed that it was perfectly reasonable that they should do so.
Trump’s sins and weaknesses are their sins and weaknesses. We’re all appalled by his ignorance, his refusal to consider the consequences of his actions, his spectacular lack of personal responsibility, his disgusting false piety, his exploitation of hatred and fear, his embarrassing efforts to pretend that he speaks for the people, his cynical, megalomaniacal venality.
But this is more or less the GOP platform the past few elections, getting worse every cycle since Reagan.
So it would be productive for the public good to see a little less head-shaking from the likes of Tim Cook and Gary Cohn and John McCain and Paul Ryan, and a little more assumption of responsibility. We should never admit then back into respectable company until they’ve acknowledged their role in creating this monster.
*Thanks to theater critic Michael Feingold for sharing this quote.