With recent footage of black teenagers cold-cocking random strangers in a deadly game known as “Knockout,” Americans should recognize how badly our country needs a selfless voice of leadership heard in all of our homes. But until the dignified message of someone like Dr. Ben Carson becomes mainstream, Mark Twain’s classic punch to the face has always packed the power to knock some sense in to people who need it the most.
Nearly 130 years after The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published, Twain’s timeless lessons on race and humanity continue to offer America a remedy to racial bigotry -- no matter the color of the bigot. Unfortunately, too few Americans have read the novel. Mark Twain’s intellectual bullying hurts everyone’s self-esteem, so today’s students are often sheltered from the author’s ruthless scorn.
Public schools have become petri dishes for political correctness, and Twain’s venomous commentary on the human race is unpleasant to swallow. His universal truths not only sting but also pose a threat to a school system that reserves judgement on the sins of the world but damns America for causing them.
Twain once wrote, “God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” Twain’s humor sums up our current education system concisely. What else needs to be said about adults who hold children hostage and feed them a diet of resentment toward their own country?
Twain condemns the whole human race, not white or black Americans. Consequently, Twain’s message interferes with the propaganda undermining America’s noble values through lessons that focus primarily on our most shameful history. What’s a liberal public school teacher supposed to say if an astute student were to ask, “America is bad compared to what?” The poor kid would probably be suspended for actually thinking, if efforts to brainwash him continued to fail.
And speaking of brainwashing, liberals are scrambling for a clever narrative to blame conservatives for the racial division and violence plaguing the nation. However, liberals should look in the mirror first. How many Americans recognize the motto “E pluribus unum”? (Out of many, one.) The multi-cultural psychobabble peddled by liberals today significantly intensifies America’s racial division by discouraging assimilation.
Conversely, Huck Finn is a story about coming together. The parallels in the novel to today’s society should startle everyone. In the story, Huck is a 13-year-old, uncivilized, white boy who overcomes a racist culture and the sickening oppression of a drunk, self-loathing, and abusive father. A lot like race hustlers do today, Huck’s Pap denigrates everyone under the sun -- except the person responsible for his own misery -- himself. Pap is arguably the novel’s most pathetic and repulsive character, but Twain unloads plenty of seething criticism for the entire human race, not one ethnic group (or political party) in particular.
Though Twain begins the story by taunting readers with a warning about “attempting” to find a “motive, moral, or a plot,” America’s failure to come together seems to magnify his point. As Twain predicted, Americans continue to be “prosecuted, banished or shot” as a result of failing to find his message.
By the end of Twain’s novel, Huck defies incredible odds by unlearning everything society has taught him about blacks. His touching relationship with the character named Nigger Jim is what frees Huck’s mind. Twain drives home one of the story’s most obvious lessons with sheer contempt for mankind by having the naive and underestimated little boy believe that he will forever be corrupt -- in fact Huck accepts that he will go to hell -- at the moment he understands that his magnanimous friend Jim (an escaped slave) is a human being.
Only by coming together do Huck and Jim both find true freedom. Their cultures merge and their best qualities come out. They realize they share a genuine love and concern for one another. The toxic irony carried by the racial slur tarnishing Jim’s name punctuates Twain’s message like an exclamation mark inserted with a sledge hammer -- people are people. We all fall far short of being truly good. And we all struggle with our own humiliating blemishes, personal doubts, and inherent capacities to shame humanity. We all need to look within ourselves to change our plights in life, not blame our struggles on anyone else.
Of course, America has provided everyone the possibility to overcome inherent obstacles like no other country in the world. And the election of President Obama to the world’s most powerful position was advertised with the potential to provide that uniquely American hope to everyone. Unfortunately, Barack Obama has always been a modern day version of Twain’s duke and dauphin -- two characters that are con men. Huck and Jim save the two swindlers who are being run out of town only then to be held captive and mistreated by the crooks.
Today, gullible voters who supported Obama might relate. For the president to sincerely acknowledge and celebrate the significance of what the 2008 election offered to every American (in theory) would undermine everything Democrats have achieved through stoking racial grievances and sabotaging the possibility of American harmony through multiculturalism.
Despite the hype and glitter preceding President Obama’s historic election, the president is determined to divide our nation. But his community organizer’s resumé, littered with wicked allies harboring contempt for America, foreshadowed the deterioration of racial progress like a beacon.
The false hope and insincere promises of American solidarity that duped a majority of voters to elect this president have been replaced with a lethal dose of racial animosity that the president himself regularly stokes.
That many black Americans remain mired in a futile message of hopelessness should not surprise anyone. President Obama’s dubious background and divisive nature have repeatedly been ignored by half the country. Nevertheless, the president’s apathy for leadership and his audacious lip service regarding the historical possibility of what his election (supposedly) symbolized to this great nation is arguably the worst catastrophe of his presidency so far.
Nevertheless, many black Americans remain loyal to the cosmopolitan president’s imaginary connection to their personal experiences. Some even revel in President Obama adding kindling to piles of ignitable racial resentment and despair.
But with so many young black Americans imprisoned in chaotic inner-city schools and the Obama administration hell-bent on keeping them there, how any mentally balanced American believes the bona fide liar and narcissist values black Americans for anything other than their unwavering political support is disgusting.
On the other hand, suffering through one day in dangerous inner-city schools where a sense of victimhood and resentment are only reinforced is just as disheartening.
Dr. Ben Carson recently said, “..The American people...are not each other’s enemies. The enemies are those people behind the curtain pulling every string, driving a wedge in every place that they possibly can. Be it race, be it gender, be it age, be it income. Doesn’t matter. If you can keep everybody divided and at each other’s throats and you can throw them off the real issues, then they won’t even notice that the government is insinuating itself into every part of their life and gradually changing America into something that we don’t want it to be.”
Until a message like Dr. Carson’s permeates our homes, Americans should have no problem understanding why we see such mindless racial violence today -- or why Mark Twain jabbed long ago, “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
And for those of us who have read Twain’s story, we can also see that Huck’s amusing disdain for going to school is not that funny after all.
A former Marine Corps officer and a recovering high school English teacher, Lee Culpepper is a Christian, husband, writer, and mentor. Read and share other articles by Lee Culpepper at TheBlaze and BearingArms. Email Lee your feedback or inquiries here or contact Lee on Twitter @drcoolpepper.