Man and Woman of the Year: The Middle Americans

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ceased to be slow-paced or daily. Problems whose resolution will require years need to be attacked now, the priorities set and the programs begun. Solving America's most pressing problems will require the enlistment of Middle Americans, who live in the thick of them. To denounce the evils of radicalism is not enough. In the long run, the burden will be on Middle America to show that nonradical reform can accomplish what needs to be done. However unfair it may seem, this will require sacrifices on Middle America's part—and on the part of other portions of U.S. society as well. In this situation, it may be that Middle America will find itself in alliance with liberals newly awakened to its concerns. Many Middle Americans, listening to the slogans of the farther left, may well come to prefer liberal formulas.

If the U.S. is to go forward as Nixon has promised, Middle America must be led to assist change rather than resent and resist it, to help shape the future rather than try to preserve an already vanished America. In that task, a presidential prophet might find himself surprisingly honored in Middle American country. The Man and Woman of the Year still want to believe in America and the American dream. It has dimmed for too many, sometimes because of their failed expectations, sometimes because of the assaults on their complacency. Yet if the dream were to be redefined properly for them, Middle Americans could again provide abundantly that felicitous mixture of idealism and sound common sense on which the U.S. was founded.

* By "liberal," Etzioni means willing to accept government intervention for specific, progressive social programs.

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