Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Triumph of Hope over Self-Interest Annotation

In his essay, The Triumph of Hope over Self-Interest, David Brooks discusses the reasons Americans vote the way they do. He explains that, as Americans, we have a predisposition to believe that one day we’ll reach success and be in the upper ranks of society. That’s precisely why most of us don’t begrudge the rich because we look at them as merely fellow Americans who have reached that success. Voters who don’t support taxing the wealthy often choose this side because they believe it will negatively affect them. Sometimes we even pity the rich, thinking, “Poor rich New Yorkers/Californians, you have no true neighbors and a whole lot of stress.” He also quotes Jennifer Lopez’s song “Jenny From the Block” to show that what really affects Americans’ view of the wealthy is whether or not they stick to their roots and remember where they came from. He claims that more middle class Americans would side with George W. Bush than Barbara Streisand because good ol’ W can still fit in with the small town life. All in all, Brooks shows us that Americans don’t see each other based on class, but more like a grade school “lunch room,” where the individual’s community is the table and they have the coolest people at it.

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