During a Q&A session at the Economic Club of Chicago, President Barack Obama addressed the epidemic of nativism sweeping the nation and warned about what might come of it, according to a reporter from Crain's who was at the event.
While discussing the way the speed of change has created an unease in the country, he observed that "nothing feels solid, and that "there's something in us that looks for simple answers when we're agitated."
He went on to laud the free press as one of the reasons this country has survived. Has no one told him about the Sinclair takeover and stealth acquisitions of independent progressive weekly newspapers in major cities around the country?
Continuing on, Obama warned that complacency is the real danger. "We have to tend to this garden of democracy or else things could fall apart quickly."
Citing Germany in the 1930s, Obama observed that Adolf Hitler rose to power in spite of the democratic Weimar Republic and a tradition of high-level cultural and scientific achievements. "Sixty million people died."
"So you've got to pay attention. And vote," he admonished at the end.
That's the harshest warning our former president has given yet. Also the most timely. These will be our 2018 challenges: First, to rise above the drumbeat of biased media owned by conservative oligarchs; and second, to make sure everyone votes, regardless of the obstacles put before them.