Why do we choose to attend an Ivy League school? We believe our investment of time and money will provide us with a good education, a powerful network, and unique skills that will bring us higher social standing. Many of us aspire to hold roles of leadership or of high expertise because we expect that our skills and energies will be appropriately acknowledged. And to that point, we expect to be rewarded for all the hard work that we are dedicating to our careers. Surely, monetary reward is a significant driver of our expectations, seeing that we pay large sums of money to attend our universities, either immediately or in the form of student loans. It is sobering to think given how much we invest in our education, we are sure we will attain success.
Thus, we are creatures of ambition. Many of us were accepted to an Ivy League school because we showed that we have genuine ambition for improving our lives through education. Yet in this time of global recession, international conflict, and political skepticism, the challenges that inhibit our ambition are only growing larger. Competitive internships and professional networking have taken off aggressively as further means to building the successful career that we all think we deserve.
Yet, contrary to all our efforts toward success, many of these ambitious Ivy League students — certainly a majority at Brown — voted for a president who is actively trying to inhibit their success. Of the many populist messages that President Barack Obama promoted during his 2012 presidential campaign, one such message suggested that the rich need to pay their fair share. Not only this, but Obama has portrayed the upper class as a greedy, insensitive contingency that is responsible for our economic recession and is, by all attempts, trying to subvert the middle class. In a speech delivered in Osawatomie, Kans., Obama said of the rich, “Their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” Obama’s statement manifests a strong condescension toward those who simply have more money than others.
And what designates you to this roster of greedy, selfish elitism? Obama’s tax proposal from this July suggests that if you make more than $250,000 you should make the list. By that standard, as an Ivy League student hoping to rise into the upper class, I should soon find myself in this contingency of people with despicable moral values who favor selfishness and oppression.
It is surprising to find that so many Ivy League students, at Brown and abroad, are so fiercely liberal when their votes go to someone whose political platform is focused on debunking the legitimacy of a social class that those students aspire to reach. It seems antithetical to vote for a candidate who wants to take more and more of the money you earned after you and your parents have invested and sacrificed so much to providing you opportunities that help you earn that money. In many ways, this line of thinking seems unfair, especially when this candidate’s administration has proved largely incapable of justifying their tax intake by running the four biggest annual U.S. federal deficits since World War II.
As exceptional students and future leaders, it seems silly that many of us so adamantly support the attack on people we are trying to personally emanate or ingratiate ourselves with. Liberal politics has become very antagonistic toward the wealthy as of late, and it should be no surprise that many young liberal voters will soon find themselves under attack as they launch themselves into their careers.