An Ordinary Thing, But So Illusive...

Ordinariness: missing in America

By Arthur H. Gunther III

I am an ordinary fellow living an ordinary retirement  after an ordinary upbringing and an ordinary career. And that is my issue: the great gift of ordinariness that America has long offered but which now seems out of reach. Most Americans want to be ordinary, to live safe, productive lives in health and happiness, to leave the moving and shaking to others. Ordinariness is the hum of the middle class, which itself is the well-tuned, durable engine that protects democracy, that grows the economy, that offers stability. And today it is sputtering.

When was the last time America smiled? There are tears in the households where the unemployed sit, where new college graduates cannot begin careers, where those who were taught by successful parents to buy into the American Dream see it dashed in an economy built by the 20th century middle class but now controlled by special interests in the 21st.     

The many in America today know that Congress and the presidency are broken systems hampered by pettiness and no grand vision. Great change must come if the nation is to survive. Lobbies for greed, for power, for the extreme  left and extreme right of political ideology rule the roost, and the people’s voice must rise in volume against them.

So that is the issue: how to again nurture the middle class in all its ordinariness, which is also its brilliance, America’s leitmotif. It is the stability of the masses being ordinary that allows others to invent, to be pioneers, to chase the frontier.

Could change come by requiring public financing of campaigns with no special-interest money allowed?   Maybe then the nation, free of lobby, would decide what sort of financial and educational investment, health care, pension system and social service network a progressive world leader must have and how to pay for all that without massive debt and with individual responsibility added to the wallet.

We must guarantee that America can be ordinary and so hum in progress once again.

The writer is a retired newspaperman.

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Issy August 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Oh dear Ross, you have truly missed the other side of the equation, the plain crazy. A man who thinks magic underwear will protect him, that a pedophile, adulterer illiterate con man is some kind of prophet and that following the economic policies of George Bush Jr will bring the country back to prosperity is not extra-ordinary or even ordinary, but just plain crazy.
Watchdog August 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM
After anger comes acceptance.
Mike August 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM
@art- too bad your piece which is very thought provoking and worthy of intelligent discussion has now be high jacked by the ordinarily simple. Thanks for your thoughts. I am moving to the sidelines as these comments will now bloviate into mind numbing partisan banter.
art gunther III August 28, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Thanks Ashley and Mike.
christopher herlihy August 29, 2012 at 08:01 AM
today americans are anything but ordinary. so many people want money, fame, brand name anythings as long as its known. we are in the mess of unordinary due to the pure greed that so many people get caught up in just to have more money and power to do what they want.i can see that you are putting blame on congress and both parties who have not done too much for the country and its time they grow up or we get them out.i do notagree that the tea party will help us at allbut get us in position that will make it harder to see any good change. i feel most americans do not just want to be ordinary, no. most people want to do some thing that is close to their heart and good so they can be remembered for what they believed in. change is coming and the americans who want to do something good for all human beings will do there work and bring back america to a truly safe,happy and free country. america is not a perfect country but you will never find a better one in the world today. chris


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