Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Candidates for President of The United States of Tom

I think that by looking to our current presidential candidates, we can create a relatively accurate portrayal of what our country thinks and wants (or at least what the candidates think our country needs and wants).

Saunders defines the United States of Tom as seeing suffering “simply [as] an opportunity for [one]’s ego and cleverness to exert themselves”. Hillary Clinton seemingly did just that in one of the Democratic presidential debates. When questioned on the gigantic donations Wall Street has made to her campaign, Hillary responded:

“So I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

In this situation at least, Hillary made use of a terrible event for both our country and the world to try to defend Wall Street’s contributions to her campaign. While it is the candidate’s job to make themselves look good, trying to benefit off the pain of thousands upon thousands of people takes it a bit too far.

Saunders also specifies that “Whereas Huck hopes, Tom presumes.” Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate seems very guilty of presuming. In his speech at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 10, 2011, Trump told his audience that

“I can tell you this, if I run and if I win, this country will be respected again. If I decided to run, I will not be raising taxes, we'll be taking back hundreds of billions of dollars from other countries that are screwing us, we'll be creating vast numbers of productive jobs, and we'll rebuild our country so that we can be proud. Our country will be great again.”

Trump doesn’t actually put forward a plan to do any of this, he just presumes that he can make it happen. This kind of thinking- that there doesn’t need to be an actual plan, he’ll just “make it happen”- is distinctly well suited for the United States of Tom.

1 comment:

  1. Though Hillary and Trump are great examples of people who represent the United States of Tom, what is your opinion about Bernie Sanders? He is relatively popular in the polls, and to me, represents the United States of Huck, one filled with ethics and the embrace of humanity. Do you think Sanders represents the United States of Tom or Huck? And how does that opinion play into your final conclusion that we live in a United States of Tom? Do you think that we need to change from a United States of Tom to a United States of Huck? If so, what change do you think needs to happen? Personally, I think there needs to be a lot of change in our society to embrace the United States of Huck, maybe the change starts in politics? Great post.