“The American People”


“The American People” is an abstraction. It is a fiction. Yet pundits and politicians are always saying it. American pundits and politicians. When this began, I do not know. But to refer to fellow-citizens of the United States in this way is to fictionalize real people and to regard them as somehow separate from oneself. It’s silly. It’s shallow. It’s trite.

It’s unthinking.

And it’s often used with promiscuous presumption about what the American People think or feel, want or believe.

It’s also a totally useless generalization when it functions as a stand-in for what pundits and politicians think fellow Americans want (or what they want them to want).

I think the American People would agree. Don’t you?

A sea of self-motivated individuals or a web of interdependent talents? Both, of course.

A Poll for Twenty-Somethings and Thirty-Somethings


If you’re in your 20s or 30s, I invite you to participate in this poll.

As you think about common characteristics of your generation, indicate which of the following statements you agree with and which you disagree with. Please use the reply box below.

  1. “My generation is driven by our individual needs and desires, and pursuing our own individual happiness is the most important thing.”
  2. “My generation thinks it’s more important for children to learn to think for themselves than to learn to respect authority.”
  3. “Members of generation would say, ‘As long as I believe in myself, I really don’t care what other people think.’”
  4. “Probably, most of my generation would agree with this statement: ‘It doesn’t really matter if you’re a Communist or not—this is America, and you can be one if you want.’”
  5. “My generation thinks that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
  6. “Older generations trusted God, the church, government, and their elders. My generation questions things and people that earlier generations never would have.”
  7. “In my generation, as opposed to my parents’ or my grandparents’, we’re told to express our feelings and anger and sadness about our surroundings and not to hold them in.”
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