Midterm Essay: The American Dream
The American Dream is so many different things to so many different people, especially Americans. While other countries around the World would like to argue that Americans only aspiration is to become infinitely wealthy, Dinesh DSouza claims that it is not wealth that Americans want. He believes that it is simply a better life. Michael Moore too acknowledges Americans ambition, especially his own, to create a better life for themselves. These two views of the American Dream come from very opposite Americans, but it is their differences that make their ideals so beautifully unique.
To begin the comparison between these two authors, I will first examine Moores ideology. As it is obviously stated in the title of his book, Moore is not exactly subtle person. He voices his contempt of what has become the American Dream through his own story of an underpaid and underappreciated pilot. Moore disgust for the pilots situation when he crudely utters, Never, ever let someone fly you up in the air whos making less than the kid at Taco Bell. (Moore, 48) Moore, of self-admitted wealth, sympathizes with men that collect food stamps. These pilots, as well as the rest of Americans, are being robbed of our American Dreams by corporate minions that have been stockpiling income for the last, two decades. (Moore, 50) These same CEOs and other suits are the greed at the tops of huge corporations that, with the absence of Clinton, have had a field day with ripping off Americans by and large through tax shelters, off-shore subsidies, and other means of defrauding the American Public. Moore drives this point home when he attacks Mercedes Benz tax dodging of emissions fines as a blatant tactic, so that rich people could drive around big, fancy cars and ruin people lungs. (Moore, 53) Although he admits to living among the rich people, Moore points out that the government too is among those that are flushing away the American Dream, because tax audits have increased among the less paid in American society. Moore reveals that his true vision of the American Dream is the success of people who have, played by the rules, gave their heart and sole and first marriage to their company. (Moore, 55) Certainly success is anything but guaranteed in any competitive Capitalistic society. This competition is what makes America thrive. However, Moore feels that it is not Capitalism fault, as much as it is those in areas of corporate power that have stolen from their workers and left without remorse. Moores harsh criticism of the United States is anchored by his acceptance that there are no better options anywhere else.
DSouza, on the other hand, is an avid supporter of his image of the American Dream and its presence in America. Dinesh explains the popularity of the American Dream worldwide is because people wish for, the American way of life. (DSouza, 73) As if it was coming from a foreigner, he continues to exemplify the American Dream as an outsider looking in and seeing all of the splendor and appeal of Americans lives. It is this enchantment that causes people from all ends of the Earth to migrate to the United States and even leave their families and traditions. The most emphasized element and essentially the core of the American Dream is the ability to, write the script of your own life. (DSouza, 83) The writer gives his own real-life example of the American Dream, through his emergence as a writer and later a White House Staff member simply because he pursued his own dream. Through the constant comparisons with the inequalities present in countries throughout the World, DSouza is fascinated with the diversity of America and the, tolerant society, that this diversity has spawned. (DSouza, 94)
Immediately it is obvious that these two interpretations of the current status of the American Dream are nearly political polar opposites. Michael Moore mercilessly attacks the governments refusal to help the average working man. Moore faults corporations greed and crooked politics for forcing the American Dream further and further away from most Americans. DSouzas take on this subject is almost the exact opposite. He credits the founding fathers of our nation for laying the framework for our present day America, in which anybody has, the chance to make his own life. (DSouza, 95)
Further differences become apparent in the two mens feeling toward their own successes in America. Moore basically indicts all of upper-class America for slowly driving corporations and politics into opposition of the average American, he says of his numerous wealthy neighbors, they are fit, coifed, and hungry to make a killing. (Moore, 51) While Moore would refuse to admit that some of these types of people may have pushed his book onto the bestseller list, DSouza is grateful to them because his, ideology counted more than nationality. (DSouza, 82)
Although it did not become clear to me until after reading through both authors it is very obvious that Michael Moore grew up in America and its politics. Conversely, DSouza at first glance seems like your average conservative because of his stark defense of what he sees as Americas strengths.I first thought DSouzas respect and gratitude as a humble and very respectable point of view and even though I still respect his appreciation for the United States, Ive decided that I consider these feelings are somewhat nave, honestly he gives Americans too much credit. He said that if Bill Gates offered a homeless man $100 to kiss his feet, Most likely the homeless guy would tell Gates to go to hell. (DSouza, 78) As sad as it is to admit, but even I would consider kissing Bill Gates feet for $100.
So in this respect Moore did have Americans (or at least me) pinned correctly. Moores cynicism is easily mistakable for negativity or anti-patriotism. I see his aggressive style as his way of embracing our democracy and forcing it to make our country better in any way it can. What he is saying is to refuse mediocrity in our own government. I too believe we should always be striving to make our country better. It is this reason that I call DSouza nave. Our government did not become what it is over night. It has been hundreds of years of fight and struggle from people like Moore that pushed America through her weaknesses, like segregation, racism, injustice, etc.. DSouza touches on this idea somewhat when he quotes V.S. Naipauls notion that Americans believe in an individuals potential for, perfectibility. (DSouza, 85) Because of our government, more directly its rule by the people, this perfectibility should also be extended to our every political ideal. Even though I admire DSouza and his blind love for America, I agree that Moores head is in the right direction.
DSouza, Dinesh., Whats So Great About America (Washington, Regnery Publishing, 2002).
Moore, Michael., Stupid White Men (New York