Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The United States of... Tuck?
Within George Saunders' "The United States of Huck," Sanders outlines two principle models of the 'American Character.' One being that of Tom, and one of Huck. The 'Tom' model is the more negative assertion about American people. Toms are often self-centered, narcissistic, and ignorant of other's problems. They have the mindset that if they aren't suffering from, or at fault for a problem, they have no type of obligation to help correct it. They don't question their privilege, and they believe that they are superior to all those less fortunate than they are. On the other hand, Hucks are fair, level headed, and kind. They are hopeful and imaginative, and learn things for themselves, rather than assume that what they are told is correct. According to Saunders, these two models coexist within American culture, and America will forever be undecided about whether it is the United States of Tom, or the United States of Huck. In my opinion, however, America is neither of these; it is rather a combination of Hucks and Toms. There will continue be those who think that they are superior to those of different social classes or races, and there will continue to be those who are narrow minded and stubbornly conventional. One example of this can be seen in the presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Trump frequently mentions the amount of money he has, and it is clear that he believes he is superior because of his wealth. He also doesn't seem to have the ability to empathize with people who differ form him. He is intolerant, harsh, and hateful of Muslims and South American immigrants because of mere stereotypes. Trump is a prime example of the Tom persona. On a smaller scale, there are people all over America who have self-elevating and discriminatory opinions that they have no intention of seeing past. However, despite the Toms of America, there are many examples of Hucks in every day society. Back on the presidential scale, Bernie Sanders offers an example of the Huck character. Sanders empathizes with others and is open to new ideas. Furthermore, he doesn't perpetuate stereotypes of members of other groups, but rather breaks them down. Again, on a communal scale, there is a very large amount of people who are open minded, who are willing to help, and who see the difference between right and wrong. America as a whole is a nation composed of Toms and Hucks, but hopefully with time, we will become the United States of Huck.