I try to organize my civic work around four questions, the first of which is: What Happened? What in our past led us to where we are today? What choices, trends and coincidences built our shared world?
I am working on books aiming to help answer each question for my generation of Americans. For this question, I am working on a book provisionally titled, appropriately, What The Heck Happened?: A Millennial Political Detective Story. I want to answer “what the heck happened” to American politics: What has led to our fierce discontent with our political system? Why do so few public problems find solutions? Why do we feel so disempowered? In an attempt to get to the heart of the matter, I am critically surveying the “theories of decline” of various political thinkers from across the ideological spectrum: from “corporations got too powerful” to “the government got too powerful”; from “we lost faith” to “we cling too hard to faith”; from “we’re too polarized” to “we’re too compromising”. The book will aim to untangle this knotty mystery and, in doing so, hopefully point the way towards where we should go.