I just finished the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I am shaken by this story—it’s honesty about the realities of the human race, the circle of violence that seems to plague every generation, evidence of our fears and insecurities taken out on our neighbors.
I don’t know how intentional Ms. Collins was about her portrayal of our tendencies toward violence, but it is scary how true her story rings against the daily news. I highly recommend this trilogy, available in print and Kindle. It’s geared toward young adults, so a it’s a pretty face-paced read.
Though the trilogy is set an a futuristic vision of the what becomes of the United States after a final collapse and major rebellion, I could not help but perceive the Capitol in The Hunger Games as a continuation of the oppression and control of the United States government, with the districts being the countries or parts of this country that are suppressed in their poverty in order to serve the garish desires of those of us in the top tiers of wealth and power in the world. I can only imagine how the world looks upon us now, with our styled hair, expensive tattoos, and wanton excesses, while they live in relative squallier, barely making in a week what we spend in a moment on a soy latte without even a millisecond of thought about it, other than to fulfill our temporal desires—much like the gregarious dress, makeup, hairstyles, and arrogance of those living in the capitol in Ms. Collins’ book, while the districts practically starve to death while making the things that serve the whims and wants of the people living in the capitol.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government (then and now) continues to maintain the poverty of the “others” in order to continue to feed our capitol lifestyles. We use the military to manipulate the world stage so we can fill our homes with useless things to satisfy our insatiable hunger for the mirage of success and prestige. Am I now “un-American” for even mentioning such a thing? If that is America—taking what isn’t ours and using our wealth and power to keep others in the lines we have drawn for them—then I’m not sure I want to be an American. I am proud of the freedoms we have established for ourselves, encouraged by the vision of those who helped forge this democratic experiment, and the amazing ingenuity we have developed in an incredibly short few hundred years. But at the same time I feel we have squandered the gifts that have been given to us, and have gotten fat of the hard work of those who have come before. I am shamefully fearful of the real costs of those freedoms, especially the costs expended by others who do not even get the opportunity to share in the rewards, the costs in human lives and freedom for others outside our system!
I am a Christian, and so much of what I read in the Bible are warnings against the exact arrogance, greed, and sense of entitlement that so much of us in American society seem share. And, in keeping with those same scriptures, I continue to grapple with my own arrogance, greed, and entitlements, and how I again and again fail to use the modest wealth (but wealth none-the-less) and power (but power none-the-less) to try to live into God’s vision shared in Scripture time and again that we are all connected and we all need one another. Again and again the rich are warned of their own demise should they neglect the poor or those who help create their wealth. At some point, gap between the haves and have-nots gets so wide it’s unsustainable, and the entire delicate system becomes to cave in on itself (as is the case in Hunger Games).
Powerful words from a guy who is trying to use his creativity for good!
Read The Hunger Games. A really good read!