A debut political polemic bemoans the downfall of the United States.
Many in the commentariat have heaped blame on the 1 percent, who rig the system from their positions of power in Washington and on Wall Street, but the country’s problems go deeper than that. In his introduction, Cass writes: “I will, instead, share with you…experiences from family, friends, neighbors, and people like yourselves that typify our newfound greed, selfishness, and social problems.” According to the author, Wall Street’s greed is echoed in the unquestioning consumerism of average Americans, and the average person on Main Street is collaborating in the destruction of all that made the nation good. Chapter by chapter, Cass takes the reader through various segments of society, pointing out where and how they went wrong, from financial institutions (the first word of that chapter, tellingly, is “PIRATES!!!”) to immigrants (who “no longer have any intention of ever assimilating”) to sports (“All major sports have gone mad”) and religion (“It’s being used and abused as a tool for evil intent”). The author takes a particular interest in public education. His position on his district’s School Committee (“I was almost the first School Committee member to sue my own school district”) means that his critique of education is more minutiae-based than other topics. The text features occasional inaccuracies (Laura Bush is not an “unwavering Catholic,” or any other sort of Catholic), though the author provides copious endnotes that cite the origins of his many claims. Cass has some faith that things could turn around, but the book’s qualified optimism is undercut by its inauspicious penultimate line—“can you imagine an all Republican government led by Donald Trump?” While many of the author’s criticisms of government and industry are on point, he frequently comes across as cranky. His distaste for technology lacks nuance, and his views on immigration are downright nativist. This mix of conservative and liberal positions means there are things to please and offend nearly every reader, though those oft-invoked voters who supported Bernie Sanders or Trump seem most likely to see themselves best reflected in Cass’ mirror.
A bellicose diagnosis of everything that’s wrong with America.