George Graham

What “the People” Want


As I ponder yesterday’s comments by Joy and LogicFish, who have obviously read extensively and thought intensely about the way our world works, I wonder how “the people” figure in this vast puzzle. What do they want?

I doubt any group, however cunning, can rise to power without the tacit consent of “the masses.” And I think it would be even more difficult to retain power without that approval.

In my view, for example, the Trump administration is a grave threat to civilization. Yet despite the relentless efforts of civilization’s institutional establishment, – the civil service, the justice system, the media, the intelligentsia¬† and so on -Trump remains in power.

Obviously, “we the people” must be OK with that.

The polls seem to back up my conclusion. Trump’s approval rating is climbing.

Could it be that a significant segment of America’s people,don’t really value abstracts like morality, decency, courtesy, fairness,honesty, civil rights, personal privacy, even freedom?

They might give lip service to such concepts, but I suspect that what they really value are material things like a hearty meal on the table and a warm bed at night.

Obviously, there are exceptions -such as the pro-lifers and gun nuts on the right and the revolutionaries on the left – but to “the masses” in America, “the issues” don’t seem to matter that much.

If they have an ordered society that provides them personally with the reasonable expectation of a job and a habitable place to call home, they aren’t going to risk those things to defend some other American’s constitutional rights.

Or to ensure other people’s children and grandparents don’t go hungry.

Or to provide health care for others if they themselves have health insurance through their jobs or Medicare, or whatever.

Or to protect people who don’t even look like them from injustice and persecution – even random execution by police.

Or to help refugees from faraway places find a safe haven from physical and economic abuse.

And certainly not to admonish their leaders for disgusting and corrupt behavior.

You may hear about liberty, justice, democracy and so on in a civics class, but you are not likely to find yourself discussing such topics at the corner bar. You’ll probably be involved in an animated discussion about “the playoffs.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not sitting in judgment on “the masses.”¬† You won’t see me marching down Post Lane waving¬† a torch and pitchfork anytime soon.

Unless they take away my Social Security, of course.

Trump’s approval ratings

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for