"Panem et Circenses translates into 'Bread and Circuses'. The writer was saying that in return for full bellies and entertainment his people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power."
I recently read the "Hunger Games" trilogy. After I finished it I felt a deep kind of sadness. The author, Suzanne Collins, wrote a brilliant story. But what made it most brilliant is that it is not a story at all - it is a harsh, undeniable truth - a commentary on our present society.
Of course I can relate to the beautiful and brave heroine, Katniss (we all should!) But what stings more is recognizing just how much I am like the people of the Capitol: well-fed, plenty of time to dedicate to leisure and entertainment, and nice, perhaps, but severely disconnected from the harsh realities of most of the world.
Soon after I finished the series I was driving in the car. It is one of the few times that I can really reflect during the day while the kids are awake. I was thinking of the upcoming election and of the quote that I started this post with. Have we as a society "sold-out" in favor of comfort and entertainment? Was it so easy for us to relinquish our power?
I have never been "into" politics. For whatever reason it is just not something that has really caught or held my attention. But that day I saw so clearly what matters - people and the earth. It's so simple. And I've felt guilty before about not being "up" on things but I also have been able to justify my ignorance pretty easily too. That day I decided: I will no longer use the fact that politics are "not my thing" as an excuse not to do better when it comes to being educated and in deciding where my vote should go.
What I really don't understand though, is how in our two-party system people are so brutal towards other people - their own brothers and sisters. I have very dear, close loved ones on both "sides". Many feel very strongly about "their" issues, "their" side, and "their" candidate. I have to say that so far I have not found a "side" or a "candidate" that I feel has it 100% "right". Also it seems very hypocritical to say the things people say about each other. This includes comments about people who are undecided - I've heard several remarks that people who are undecided are stupid, idiots, etc. What?! Maybe they are actually weighing their decision out carefully!
In my moment of clarity I thought, I know for sure that I'm going with a third party candidate. It seems so right to me and to make sense - someone who I agree with a LOT more - maybe not completely, but enough to feel good about.
Then of course, the clarity left for a while and other voices crept back in - "it's wasting your vote!" or "You're in a swing state - you're vote is really important!" or even, "why do you think this is the way - because it seems 'cool'?"
But I have to agree with the people that say we cannot compromise our beliefs too much in an attempt to go with the "lesser evil". If enough of us would realize that we need to TAKE our power back then REAL change will occur because we demanded it.
For now, I'm going to keep doing my best in my every day life - which mostly means being the best mom, wife, friend and neighbor that I can be. It also means that for the most part I continue to keep the HUGE problems afflicting our world - hunger, war, and oppression to name a few - tucked into the back of my mind. It does not do me OR the world any good for me to dwell and immerse myself in these matters. BUT I do need to take responsibility for actions I can reasonably make right now... and I dream of future days when I can do more to change the world.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.