Do you agree with President Obama that the “State of the Union is strong”? If it were, would the crimes and criminals responsible for the greatest financial calamity to roil the world’s economies since the Great Depression still not be held to account?

Would 95 percent of the economic gains since the nadir of the Great Recession have gone to the top 1 percent of income earners? Would the poorest fifth of Americans continue to see their after-tax income fall while the richest among us see it grow?

Would we continue to be barreling over the cliff of irrevocable and catastrophic ecological disaster with tepid gestures at altering course amid growing cynical denials of reality? Would the indiscriminate terror drone attacks continue to be carried out in our name?

Would the largest, most powerful and pervasive surveillance state ever dreamed up continue to operate with unassailable impunity? Would the militarization of our police forces and the terrorizing and murdering of unarmed civilians continue unabated?

Would corporations continue to receive more rights than individuals? Would corporate malfeasance, lies and abuses directly responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians go unanswered for?

Would money continue to make the opinions and desires of those with it more important than that of those without it? Would our “representative democracy” be found to represent the interests of a select economic elite with little to no deference to the will of the vast majority of its citizens?

If, in the face of all this, you agree the State of the Union is strong, by all means carry on. If, on the other hand, you do not, our path is clear: Organize. Only through truly democratic movements from below can we begin to make the existing civic structures more responsive to citizens’ needs.

Eric Poulin

Portland