As the internet says, THIS:
Poverty is an abstraction, even for the poor. But the symptoms of collective impoverishment are all about us. Broken highways, bankrupt cities, collapsing bridges, failed schools, the unemployed, the underpaid, and the uninsured: all suggest a collective failure of will. These shortcomings are so endemic that we no longer know how to talk about what is wrong, much less set about repairing it. And yet something is seriously amiss. Even as the US budgets tens of billions of dollars on a futile military campaign in Afghanistan, we fret nervously at the implications of any increase in public spending on social services or infrastructure.
Tony Judt is very smart, and that is part of why I plan to buy this book, but man does that strike a chord with me. The failings of the political discourse and (relatedly) the state are obviously pretty palpable and urgent at the moment -- and will be more so tomorrow, when a bunch of people in American Flag-themed button downs and hats go out to protest things that do not actually exist -- but honestly it's the broken, stupid discourse that worries me more at the moment. Fix that, and we might be able to fix the way politics works. Keep it dumb-n-shouty and we don't have much of a chance.