Harrison Bergeron and Politics of Today

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Each system of government is governed by a series of laws set by the citizens’ governing jurisdictions, and while some nations rely on democracy and the people’s will, others favor the monarchical or oppressive form of governance. Kurt Vonnegut’s short story ‘Harrison Bergeron’ is a common composition that portrays the model of government existing in 2081, where the emphasis is set before the eyes of the rule on equality. Each citizen is expected to be fair on the basis of the story and anyone who is better, bigger, smarter, or faster than the other is given a handicap created by Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General (Vonnegut 2). Vonnegut’s short story relates to today’s politics since egalitarianism is a doctrine enforced in Today’s America and the aspect of communism is evident in both points of view. Therefore, despite the literal application of egalitarianism, which may be dangerous, Harrison Bergeron depicts today’s politics through the aspect of political correctness, equality, and communism.

The aspect of political correctness, as illustrated by Vonnegut, is seen in today’s political world. According to the story, Diana attempts to make the citizens equal through tone of political correctness. This means that the marginalized groups, who are the ugly, weak, and foolish are required to be treated equal to the above average in that society Vonnegut 3). Similarly, the current society conforms to the notion of political correctness where every member of the society is given equal rights to co-exist. In other societal set-ups, political incorrectness has manifested, and this could be seen in President Donald Triumph’s previous campaigns, where he won presidency through attacking the marginalized groups such as the Hispanic immigrants and the Muslims. Therefore, the aspect of political correctness/incorrectness, which manifested in the story, is evident in today’s world.

Every politician’s manifesto aligns in the notion of equality, where every state will enjoy equal regional development and distribution of resources. The idea of egalitarianism, which is portrayed by Vonnegut, was developed after America’s independence where the phrase ‘All men are created equal’ was used to bind citizens together. Harrison Bergeron depicts the same concept where every person is confined under the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendment that no person shall be better than anyone in any way (Vonnegut 1). The handicap, which is the main tool used to rationalize every citizen is similar to the parliament of US, which regulates human laws to enforce equality. This shows that the means of control used to enforce equality in America, which is the parliament, is similar to the handicap that was used in Vonnegut’s short story. Therefore, it is evident that the concept of equality illustrated in Harrison Bergeron depicts today’s politics.

Communism is also an aspect portrayed in Harrison Bergeron where abilities and wealth are distributed equally, and social norms are enforced to every citizen. Vonnegut reveals this aspect in the short story through the handicap, which acts as the tool for promoting equality and anyone who disobeyed was punished. For instance, Harrison, the fourteen-year-old child, who was handicapped, entered the studio, announced himself as an emperor, and removed the handicaps. After the rebellious scene, Diana appears and shoots Harrison with a shotgun Vonnegut, 5). This scenario resembles today’s politics where laws set by the political affiliates are molded to protect the rights of every citizen. For instance, every civil wrong is punishable by law meaning that a person cannot escape having committed a crime. For this reason, every citizen must abide by the existing governing rules and failure to which, results in punishment.

In conclusion, today’s politics can be resembled by the illustrations developed in the short story Harrison Bergeron through aspects such as equality, political correctness, and communism. Vonnegut portrays a futuristic society, where equality has prevailed and is enforced literally. Every individual is forced to be modest through a handicap, and rebelling to those standards resulted in punishment. Aspects such as communism, political correctness, and equality, which are evident in the story, depict the politics that exist in the modern society.

Works Cited

Vonnegut, Kurt. Harrison Bergeron. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1961, pp. 1-5.

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