Today, in the sixth essay about the loss of America’s sense of common good, I want to summarize where we’ve come by focusing on one of the worst consequences of the loss: The emergence of Trumpism, and of the despair that has led so many Americans to give up on democracy.

Starting next week, in the seventh essay of this series, I’ll talk about what I believe we can and should do to resurrect the common good.

It is easy for many of us to condemn fellow Americans who have succumbed to the lies and thuggery of Donald Trump. It’s convenient for us to assume they’re ignorant, or racist, or gullible fools.

But what if their willingness to believe and support Trump is understandable, given what has happened to them? I’m not suggesting it’s justifiable, only that it may be explicable.

As we have seen, many of the key political and economic institutions of our society have abandoned their commitments to the common good — and along the way, abandoned the bottom half of the adult population, especially those without […]

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