The comment was from an American journalist named Michael Tomasky. He indicated a major shift in American political thinking that took place very recently, perhaps even in the past few weeks. The main thrust of Tomasky’s article was that centre-left politicians are now considered the “regular guys” in the minds of the average American, while right-wing politicians are now considered the “weirdos”. (link to Tomasky article)
This is very significant. One part of me wants to sing a Te Deum, while another part of me wants to scream “and it’s about time!”
For those outside the US, the American concept of a “regular guy” may need some clarification. It refers to a basically good – but not flawless - person (of either gender) who, in the Australian vernacular, “doesn’t have tickets on himself”. If you follow British TV, think of any character in The Bill with a Yorkshire or Lancashire accent. If you follow Australian TV, think of any character played by Geoff Morrell.
This change of perception is such a relief, particularly to those of us who are Baby Boomers. In the late ‘70s / early ‘80s, when we Boomers were making our transition from youth to adulthood, what I call “Reactionary Chic” was beginning to exert its iron grip on the minds of many people. In many western democracies, the main qualification for a career in public life was the inability to get over the fact of having read Ayn Rand in high school.
During that period, those of us with a concern for such things as social justice and social responsibility were called all sorts of names: “do-gooders”, “bleeding hearts”, advocates of the “nanny state”, members of the “chattering classes”, “politically correct”, and so on.
As a Boomer, I’m glad that the natural equilibrium of the political system is beginning to re-assert itself at a time when we’re still young enough to enjoy it.