grams, movies, records, musicals, and novels? Who is paying can be as tyrannical as any king,rnall those college and university faculty and electing and re- If a renewal of American and Western civilization is stillrnelecting all those congressmen? possible, it requires advanced ethical, intellectual, acstheti-rnTrue, among the common people are the millions of decent cal, and political creativity and leadership. New elites mustrnand responsible individuals without whom American societx form and replace or sway the present ones. What could bernwould fall apart. Popular culture at its best forms the whole- more superficial than the idea that a couple of electoral trisomcrnballast for the ship of state. Populist rhetoric may be de- umphs for “the people” might set America right,rnfensible for political leaders who are trying to dislodge de- It can be plausibly argued that America’s elites show fewrnstructive elites, but no illusions about the wisdom of the signs of sobering up. Continued neglect or mishandling ofrnmasses should surround populist appeals. Such appeals are a acute social problems may produce more explosive fragmensignrnof desperation; they are in effect a declaration of cultur- tation. The day could come, even in the United States, whenrnal and political bankruptcy. Populism of a more program- power-seeking demagogues focus the resulting popular reniatic,rnideological kind plays with fire. It masks an unsound sentmcnts on immigrants and outsiders and propose drasticrndrive for power. It pursues a stifling and merely artificial social measures to “save” society. Should that day come, all bets arernunity. John Adams was more representatie of early American off. To avert that prospect, courageous but realistic leadershiprnpolitical thought than Jefferson when he said that the people is needed now. crnJust Folksrnby R.S. GwynnrnAs penance for your class’s wrongsrnYou sojourned in the Congo,rnConducting tribal sing-alongsrnTo the beat of your bongo.rnAnd when the plaintive messagesrnArrived from Alabama,rnYou tuned up, leading chorusesrnOf “If I Had a Hammer.”rnThen later, at the Pentagon’srnChain fences, never bolder.rnYou deftly crooned “Give Peace a Chance”rnIn the ear of a soldier.rnBut somewhere down the picket linernThe issues grow remoter:rnBallads to boycott beer or winernWon’t move the average voter.rnNow in a local motel barrnNostalgia’s what you marketrnTo make the notes on your new car.rnYou’re careful where you park it.rnStill, you can rouse us with a song,rnLeading the mellowed voicesrnLfnsure of which side’s right or wrongrnOr even what the choice is.rnSo wail Leadbelly’s “Bourgeois Blues”rnWeaving home in your Volvo.rnFriend, you’ve more than paid your dues:rnEgo te absolvo.rn24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn