In today’s world, anyone without authority is referred to as a common person. That word—common— conjures a low position in society. When I entered the working world, I accepted that status quo without question. Common put me in the same group as every other person. I no longer believe that to be true. I sometimes share a commonality with others, but that doesn’t make me or anyone else a common person.
Common also denotes unexpected. I resent the word common for that reason also. Everyone has a special talent or skill. Often, people are intimidated when they present an idea or want to go against the normal. It’s up to all of us to find and use that special talent or skill in defiance of others.
Common often indicates inferiority. Many influential people believe those of us they consider common cannot understand anything complex. College was not my choice, nor could I afford it. However, my knowledge was learned in the field of life. I may not be able to solve mathematical problems, but I certainly can execute a three-day, out-of-town seminar for scientists.
I beg to differ when something is titled commonplace. That infers it is less than meaningful. It’s considered insignificant, unimportant, and usual. What if the nanny forgot to arrive on your workday? Maybe your grocer didn’t order fresh meat for the store. What if your mail was delivered to the wrong address? Would someone in authority miss their trash being picked up? These may be usual, but definitely not unimportant.
Would you deem the following people as ordinary, and insignificant?
Consider Todd Beamer. He was born into a middle-class family. He graduated with a business degree from Wheaton College and worked as an account manager in the tech industry. Who knew that on Flight 93 in 2001, he would become a hero?
Consider Misty Copeland. With determination, she became the first African American to be the principal ballet dancer at the American Ballet Theater. Misty learned the art of ballet at a Boys and Girls Club. She proved to the world that ballet wasn’t just for the white and wealthy. Misty is truly an inspiration.
Consider Lois Gibbs. In 1972, she was a housewife residing in the Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York. After her two children were diagnosed with rare illnesses, she investigated. Lois discovered that she and 800 families sat atop over 20,000 tons of toxic chemical waste. She founded Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, now known as Center for Health, Environment and Justice.
At one time, these individuals were judged to be commoners, trite, dull, and ordinary.
For some reason, the elite are convinced they know what’s best for us commoners. I disagree. The elite have no idea what my wants and needs may be. Those in authority don’t have the right to dictate how I should act, what I should say, and where I may go. Every day, we commoners are proving them wrong.