JACKSON, Tenn. – April 2, 2004 – David Brooks has described his own writings as “comic sociology,” and that is what Brooks delivered to an audience of more than 300 at Union Forum on Thursday. Brooks’ luncheon speech focused on how Americans have divided themselves into ideological corners and the affect of this polarization of society on the political landscape for the upcoming elections.
“The Union Forum event today with David Brooks was insightful in its analysis of the issues facing our culture, our country, and our world,” President David S. Dockery said.
Brooks said, “We talk diversity in America, but we don’t live it.” Instead, he said, groupings of likeminded individuals separate into communities supporting their chosen values. “There are two different visions of what the country should be.”
Brooks provided caricatures of liberals and conservative communities across the country. The audience sounded recognition – and possibly resemblance – of these stereotypes by their laugher.
According to Brooks, this polarization has “transformed life in Washington.” He described a “Hatfield and McCoy atmosphere” of political feuding in which Republicans and Democrats refuse to communicate. Brooks traces this feud to a difference of values that have created a moral dilemma over how the United States should utilize its dominance on the international scene.
Dockery said, “While Mr. Brooks obviously painted with overgeneralizations, his ability to help us all understand those things which divide us and those things which can bring us together should help us all be better citizens.”
Each spring, the Union Forum hosts distinguished speakers in an effort to provide opportunities for lively conversation with the nations leaders and thinkers. Brooks is a regular political analyst for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, senior editor at the Weekly Standard and a columnist for the New York Times. The 2004 Union Forum was sponsored by West Tennessee Healthcare, First Tennessee Foundation, TLM Associates and The Jackson Sun.
“We are grateful for the support of the Jackson community for the Union Forum and count it a privilege to serve our neighbors and friends in this informative way,” said Dockery.