Americans are optimists

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Steinbeck said that socialism wouldn’t work here because Americans don’t see themselves as actually poor, but as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” Oddly, we live like that too. We go out to eat, go to the movies, buy electronics, plan vacations, buy cars as if we were just about to win the lottery or inherit a bucket load of wealth. We are not permanently making the small amount money we are now. Things are just about to get better, and we believe that.

This kind of optimism leads us to buy more car than we can afford, more house, more lifestyle. We are going to make more money eventually. The English might see themselves as part of the working class; we Americans are always a little hop, skip and jump away from being upper class.

We take that optimism into our personal lives as well. Like most American women, I have tons of clothes in my closet that I hope to eventually fit into. Some of these clothes I have owned for years. In fact, for over ten years I refused to shop for myself because I was always months away from being a smaller size. Instead of simply shopping for the size I am, I continually hope for the best.

Sometime I will be thin. Sometime I will be rich. Or at least if not rich, then at least comfortable. It isn’t too late for me. Isn’t hope what being American is all about? Obama certainly believes it is. In fact, I keep hoping Obama will keep one of his promises, that’s how optimistic I am. Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and all that.

Published in: on May 27, 2014 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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