Ever since the late 1970s, America’s Liberal nature has been eroded through a combination of weaponized cultural resentment (mostly right-wing religious hatred) and deregulatory market fundamentalism (led by corporate conspiring and abetted by the useful idiots and rabid cynics of institutional libertarianism).
This shift has been seen by many ‘normal’ Americans as either something to be celebrated, or more often as not something that was even happening. America, to these drooling dupes, is a static force of nature that is immutable and static–and no amount of erosion of democratic norms could possibly lead to a fascist dystopia. Meanwhile the pieces were all being put in place–the Supreme Court eroded many hard-fought civil, human and consumer rights (often with weasel tactics like questioning standing in an attempt to conceal their deep illiberalism) and even appointed a president into office who did not win the majority of votes in either the nation or even in the state over which the case had been filed.
Pointless military actions from Grenada to Iraq to Libya served to excite the dumb with the flashiness of military ceremony while sons and daughters were tossed back into their (mostly small-town and rural) communities with PTSD and resentment and untreated ills. The Senate and House became punch lines, predictable in their mindless support of war and their reflexive partisan policy stances.
The biggest problem in this setting is that one of the parties evolved from a merely nasty right-wing party into an openly fascist operation in the last 15 years–and the dimwitted moron who they nominated in 2016 won their party by tapping further into the barely-concealed vein of hate that had come to fuel it all.
If I have a sense that authority is illegitimate, it is not a reflection on me so much as it is an accurate reading of what I see around me. Those of my demographic have been endlessly lectured by entitled punks and violent idiots that we better get along and go along with a nasty, hateful and fundamentally indecent system–no matter how bad things get. But those people are cowards.
I have never been afraid of authority. Nothing has changed.