Reader’s Digest teamed up with research firm The Wagner Group to poll over 1,000 Americans and discover which individuals and the ideals they represent have earned our confidence. The results are revealing, hopeful, and sometimes shocking. …

1. Tom Hanks, actor

“But look, I was born in 1956, the peak year for births in US history. I think I’m very representative of many of the thought processes my generation have been through and, by and large, people of my age have had their imprint planted on the consciousness of western society for a long time.” …