The Hunger Games
I watched the movie, The Hunger Games, again last week, and I was struck by the similarity between that movie and what is happening in our country today. Panem, the dystopian country in the movie, is divided into the Capital City and twelve districts. The districts are subservient to the Capital; they provide economic and material services to the Capital in exchange for protection from the Capital's army, the “Peacekeepers”. The people living in the Capital are the elite, the privileged, enjoying extravagant lifestyles by exploiting the poor and the working class in the districts, who do all the work, yet receive few of the rewards.
In a response to a revolt 74 years prior, the Capital City contrived a contest in which they randomly select two youth members from each district to compete in a fight to the death competition. The last one standing is the winner, and is the only survivor. All other competitors are killed for the amusement and the empowerment of the Capital. Creating this competition and forcing the citizens of the districts to compete, reinforces the power of the elites. The elites know that the more the districts battle each other, the less they will see the manipulation and the exploitation by the elites. The citizens in the districts become so caught up with the battle within the Hunger Games; which members of which district are killing the members of their own district, that they lose focus on who the real villains are. They are not the competitors in the Hunger Games who were forced to compete, not the people from the other districts, but the elites in the Capital who created the Hunger Games in the first place.
The leader of Panem, President Snow revealed the purpose of the Hunger Games when he asked the game-maker, Seneca Crane, “why do we have a winner? I mean, if we just wanted to intimidate the districts, why not round up twenty-four of them at random and execute them all at once? Be a lot faster.” Seneca stares at him, confused. President Snow answered his own question by saying, “Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it's contained.”
In the United States today, the people in our capital city, Washington, DC, are doing the same thing to our citizens. The ruling class, the elites in DC live extravagant lifestyles, while the citizens living in the states do all the work, produce all the goods, and pay all the taxes. The elites in Washington, continually pit citizen against citizen, black vs white, man vs woman, straight vs gay, religion vs religion, state vs state, knowing full well that the more we engage in the battles between us, the less likely we will see how they are manipulating and exploiting us.
Just as in the movie, American citizens become so caught up between the contrived battles between us created and encouraged by our ruling class that we lose site of the real villains in our country, the elites, the powerful. We latch on to the little hope we gain from our small victories in these battles which cause us to keep fighting the small battles while the elites in Washington fight the bigger battle for control and power. They continue to exploit the people for their own gain, and blame the people for the crimes they themselves committed.
We as citizens must stop fighting amongst ourselves, based on race or gender or religion or lifestyle or any of the divisions that the political elite want to divide us into, and come together to unite against the elites, the powerful few who’s aim is to divide us so they can conquer, rule, and exploit us.
Is there hatred among the races in our country, between the sexes, among religions, or against life styles? The country I see in everyday life is one where people of all races get along and coexist, where religious tolerance and acceptance of different lifestyles is as high as ever. In the part of the country not defined by social media or political narratives, we are as united as we have ever been. It is only when the intellectuals, the elites, the politically powerful stoke the flames of division by exploiting isolated incidents in a country of 350 million when these division manifest themselves.
As in the movie, it is not until the people from the Capital pick the citizens and put them on a field of battle to kill each other that animosity and hatred between the districts arises. Our leaders, the people in Washington stoke hatred and division among the people by instigating battles between us that we must fight, to reinforce their power and superiority over us. The elites create narratives that make average citizens see each other as the enemy, using our differences in race, gender, lifestyle, religion to create division, as opposed to using our similarities as human beings to foster unity and a commonality of mankind.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.