Where Have All the Citizens Gone

I was recently interviewed on Café & Networks, a podcast out of Brazil that explores thought leaders from around the world. Tom Reaoch, the American host of the show and I had a pre-interview conversation, and out of that came a thought that got me wondering.

Where have all the citizens gone?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, we were all called citizens.  We were  citizens and we were people who lived in communities with a sense of citizen responsibility to our community and country. Tom Reaoch said “I haven’t heard the word citizen for a long time, we now are called consumers.” I wondered, could this be true?

As I thought about it, it did seem to be true. Our government calls us clients and voters, but rarely uses the word citizen. Marketers, pundits and researchers call us consumers. And what do we call ourselves? I can’t remember in any of the thousands of conversations I have had did anyone refer to themselves as a citizen.

Where did the citizens go? Personally, I would like to think of myself as a citizen more than any of the other labels that are hoisted on me. What do you think?

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