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7/5/17

The Have and have not: America and the Common Man: RIP? - by Michael J. Brenner

 America’s Common Man exists no more – gone and forgotten. Once he was lauded as the salt of the earth.

He was the U.S.’s embodiment of what made us Americans special, attested to what made the great democratic experiment successful and the most potent symbol of what made of the United States the magnetic pole for the world’s masses.

While politicians paid their rhetorical respects, Aaron Copeland composed a “Fanfare to the Common Man” suite. It was an honorable term, an affective shorthand for the Working Man, the Artisan and the Shopkeeper, the clerk.

To add insult to the injury, they are politically marginalized by a party system that serves up a restricted menu of options which effectively disenfranchises 25% or so of voters.

The Common Man has lost the attention of the country’s elites. Today, to call a person common is an insult, just as we have degraded the term working class.

he connotations are heavily pejorative – they are deemed failures and losers. They may have had the American Dream within reach, but lacked the will and the spirit to grab it. It’s their own fault, following a process of natural selection.

This Victorian ethic grounded in Social Darwinism has now been restored as part of the national creed. Fitted out in the post-modern fancy dress of market fundamentalist economics, this beggar-thy-neighbor ideology dominates our public discourse.

All this is no accident. Powerful interests have orchestrated a relentless campaign for more than forty years to reconfigure American life in accord with their reactionary aims and principles.

The distressing truth of our times is that the Common Man has been abandoned by those elites – in politics, in government, in journalism, in professional associations, in academia.

Those elites care little, are preoccupied with their own careers and pastimes, possess only a feeble sense of social obligation, and are smugly complacent. Money is the common denominator in all of this.

But why? Simple, avarice and moral courage are not compatible human traits. The plutocratic structures that control our public affairs offer no relief to the vanishing common man.

Read more: America and the Common Man: RIP? - The Globalist

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