Defining the Ordinary Citizen: What is it?

Defining the Ordinary Citizen-Part I

What IS an Ordinary Citizen?  It’s a great question, and one that cannot be completely answered.  Still, I will make an attempt.

Merriam-Webster Online defines “ordinary” here.  I particularly like the first and third definitions of the adjective.  Check them out.  Basically, being ordinary boils down to being common or routine.

On April 15, 2009 I had the opportunity to speak at the Albany Tax Day Tea Party.  The theme of that event was “A Rally for the Ordinary Citizen.”  My speech was titled  “The Ordinary Citizen.” Here is an excerpt from that speech that provides insight into my beliefs about the Ordinary Citizen.  Does it describe you, too?

“My name is Wade Abbott.  I am, like all of you, just an Ordinary Citizen.  I am certainly not famous, not rich, and not well known.  I have a wonderful family:  a beautiful wife and two young sons.  I live in a modest house, pay my bills and my mortgage on time.  I file my income taxes before April 15th every year.  I have a job, one that will never make me rich, but that leaves me satisfied.  I enjoy attending hockey games and riding roller coasters.  Just like millions of New Yorkers, and tens of millions of Americans:  I am completely and utterly ordinary.”

Please note that about a month after giving this speech I lost my job.  Also, the text of my speech likely differs from the version actually given on April 15th.  Unfortunately, I do not have a video of my speech. I am searching for a copy of it, and I will post it if I ever find it. (Please let me know if you recorded my speech!)

I spoke at the end of the three-hour rally, and it was the first time all day that I understood how life-changing that day was for many people.  In attendance were thousands of people who had never attended political rallies.  They carried homemade signs, waved flags, and expressed their First Amendment rights.  They agreed and disagreed with one another, but did so in a completely respectful manner.  When the event ended and everyone left, the rally location was left in better condition than when it started.  I had been surrounded by citizens as extraordinary as they were ordinary.  What an honor!

What is an Ordinary Citizen?  In short, it’s me.  And most likely, you!

Learn more about what riles up the Ordinary Citizen in Defining the Ordinary Citizen-Part II.

Leave a comment


  1. Lee Abbott

     /  February 23, 2010

    I consider myself ordinary–like you. But unlike you, I don’t do roller coasters and hockey games.

  2. Roller coasters and hockey games contribute to my sanity. I guess you could say that they keep me ordinary. Maybe a little odd, but definitely ordinary.

  1. Ordinary Frustration « This Ordinary Citizen

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  • Welcome!

    I believe that we desperately need to hear the stories of Ordinary Citizens who make a difference in our lives, our communities and our world.

    Why not be Ordinary?

    Why not make a difference?

    Why not be Ordinary AND make a difference?

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