Why these elections remind me of the Hunger Games
Election day is drawing near. Looming. And in all my 33 years I’m not sure I’ve witnessed anything quite like it. Although the hype of the Hunger Games has passed with the last movie coming out in 2015, each time I read an article about the 2016 election and its candidates, I think, “Hunger Games.”
I read the Hunger Games trilogy after my young teenage step-daughter started reading them. Honestly, when I first read the back of the book, I thought, “What? What in the world is she reading now??” After reading them and passing on the pertinent information to my husband, he kept saying, “I don’t know, I just don’t know. Is this good for young kids?”
I don’t know if it is. But I do know after reading the books and watching the movies I was thinking about the storyline and wondering:
- How would I raise my children if Panem was the America of today?
- Would my children be willing to risk their lives to take the place of another?
- Would they be willing to give their life for something they truly believed in? And do my kids have something to truly believe in?
- If my kids were raised in the Capitol as portrayed in the story, would they be swept up in the culture of the day?
- Would they be swept up in the “hype” of sensationalism, only for the sake of sensationalism?
Those are big questions to answer. Even more challenging is this: am I willing to face the answers to those questions and put in the effort needed to bring about the results I would be satisfied with.
Parenting is the hardest job I have ever taken. But it is the most important. Our country relies on me, and you, everyone, to raise children who have been asked the tough questions. Questions that might make us uncomfortable.
Because, really, if someone came up to me and asked, “What would you do if your life depended on killing me? No, really, what would you do?”, my reaction would be to cough and disengage quickly. And surmise that this lunatic is certainly a prepper who has a stash of guns, ammo, and food somewhere. Because we don’t have to think about questions like that in this day and age. We just don’t. We live in the modern age and are sophisticated and we aren’t a third-world country, fighting for our very existence.
For those unfamiliar with the Hunger Games, President Snow, the antagonist in the story, had no qualms about using intimidation in pursuit of his agenda, willing to kill anyone who was a threat and applauding the outrageous sensationalism of the Hunger Games.
Panem’s seat of power is a luxurious and hedonistic city called the Capitol. The perfect example of the pursuit of pleasure and sensual self-indulgence. The people of the Capitol are shallow, speak in funny accents, and value surface appearances, plastic surgery, and entertainment.
Suzanne Collins, the Hunger Games author, has said that Panem is supposed to be like ancient Rome: “Panem itself comes from the Latin expression ‘Panem et Circenses’ which translates into ‘Bread and Circuses'” (source). This term refers to the techniques used by the Roman Empire to keep the masses happy and docile by keeping their bellies full and their minds entertained (read more here).
To sum up: in keeping with the classical roots, the author sent her characters, the “tributes” into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment.
Sensationalism at its finest.
I have a feeling my examples are the tip of the iceberg. I’m not going to delve into the other presidential candidates, but I urge you: don’t vote only because of sensationalism or just to elect the first woman president, or just to get something free. Think about what is being said and be critical. This is a big decision that affects us and our children.
So what should you do if a “hunger games world” presents itself:
- Find the man of God, your pastor, that has been placed in your life and honor him, pray for him and submit to his leadership. We all need a godly person in leadership to turn to when times of crisis or turmoil arrive. The group of people he leads, the church, will be a key element in the development and sustainability, and growth of your faith. Hot embers grow cold when separated from the rest. Don’t ever think you are immune. If you think you are standing firm, be careful you don’t fall.
- Find the group of people who are like-minded and who will encourage you, and support you, not drag you down. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
- You should also find your strengths and people you can lead. Are you good with horses? Love to sew or cook? Are you a hunting fanatic or fishing guru or outdoor kind of guy or gal? Great! Find your group! Do you already have one? When you see them, help them to look beyond their problems; to see and acknowledge their aspirations. Become a group that encourages each other to be better, to do better, and to actively make a difference in your realms of influence.
- Show the people around you a better way and help them find their own ability to overcome the problems and discouragement they see in their lives. It’s inevitable at some time in your life to find yourself at a job or with family or a community, surrounded by people who are negative or not the least bit encouraging. Don’t join in, be the light in their life. Find your center in Jesus. Know what you believe and regardless of what they say or do, don’t let it discourage you. Always be ready to give them an answer of hope and encouragement. Sometimes this may take a sacrifice on your part. But when inspired by our Creator, He sees and will reward you in His time and in His way. We have to be willing to lay down our lives for another when we know they are weak, so that they have a chance at life, true life.
- And lastly, lead your children. Your children need you to be an example of strength. The children of America need to be shown what true sacrifice is and what it means to fight for what they believe in. As you live out your daily life in a manner that I have already spoken of, they will see the goodness you’re displaying and imparting into the lives around you. They desperately need to see that. When the time comes for us to truly make a stand for our beliefs, when our children need to make a decision about what they believe in, they need to have already thought about what that is and how they can stand for truth.
These five suggestions are things you actually shouldn’t postpone implementing. Do it now. Don’t wait.
The reality is that in other parts of the world, the “hunger games” have already begun: people are killing others, for their beliefs, in a way that is full of hate and sport. We can pray that it will never reach our shores in the same way but we can never assume that it won’t.
Please, let us not be a nation that falls into only being happy and docile because our bellies are full and our minds entertained. Please.
Do you feel that you are living God’s will for your life? Or do you feel like God is asking you to give more when you have nothing left to give?