As described by author, George Saunders, the American Character can be explained in two parts, either United States of Huck or United States of Tom. The question is, which of the two is a more accurate description?
Where Huck believes in equal chances and fair play, Tom supposes that a person gets what they deserve and have worked to achieve. The two parts of the American Psyche have never coincided with the other, always going at each other. The Huck personality is generous, concerned about others, and easy-going, while the Tom personality is concerned with appearance, favors privilege, and assuming. Although Americans like to claim the country is the United States of Huck, in reality, the United States of Tom is more accurate.
While individuals can take either personality, the country as a whole personify the United States of Tom. For example, in the presidential elections, the people tend to vote for the candidate whom they believe generally favors the Huck personality: generous, supportive, and believes in equality. However when facing an issue, everyone resorts to their true self: the selfish, immature Tom personality. During rough times, one only thinks of themselves and how to benefit themselves.
Many politicians fall under the Tom personality. In their attempts to assume the generous and realistic identity, they fall short. Like Tom, they favor privilege instead of equality and opportunity. As much as one would like to partake in being the United States of Huck, unfortunately, the American Character is far too conceited and hesitant to change the inequality in the country.