Every now and then Thom talks about Milton Mayer's Book -- "They Thought They Were Free" -- this about the very gradual Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1920's and 30's. (See http://www.thomhartmann.com/blog/2005/11/they-thought-they-were-free for Thom's excellent review of this work.)
Haunting and ringing very true are these words:
“This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. ...
“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it - please try to believe me - unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, "regretted," that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these "little measures" that no "patriotic German" could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head."
This is certainly the case in the US since Reagan, with slow steps towards uncertainty, greed, division, a systematic tearing of the social fabric and all abetted by special interests who work behind the scenes to keep us from thinking about these matters and taking appropriate counter measures.
We laugh at Bush 2 and remember the line: "He was born on third and thought he hit a triple." But also are mistaking our situation, and we think that what we have now is what we have always had.
Not true, not true.
Our country has become much coarser and less responsive and less responsible since Reagan began class warfare in earnest, by cutting taxes on the richest among us, by sending our jobs overseas, by breaking unions, decimating federal services, and, among other things, by employing jingoistic saber-rattling to get Republicans and many other people in line. (Goerring had said in the Nuremberg trials to reporters that it's easy to control others -- just pick out a group of people and label them enemies and say you will protect the country from them and say everyone who doesn't agree with you is a traitor. "It's easy to control any country by doing this," he said. "It will work in democracies, fascist regimes, everywhere!") The current republicans have certainly embraced and fast-tracked these ideas.
But without jobs and without a middle class too many Americans are walking ghosts and don't know who to blame. I have thought for several years that I'd like to see pictures of store shelves from in series of several years from 1950 to now and have pointed out the point of manufacture of the various items, and how so little is made in this country. Would be tragic and painful to see how the pictures have changed so greatly over time.
An Aesop's Fable speaks to this issue directly, about a frog being put into a pot of water and the pot being put on a fire and the water being gradually heated. The frog is boiled because it does not notice that the water is being heated, but had it been placed in hot water it would have jumped out as it would have sensed immediately the heat.
The very best thing about Thom's show is that it is yelling to us that the water is HOT!!! and we need to do something about it!
KEEP IT UP, THOM!!!