The good news for book readers and moviegoers is Collins portrays heroic solutions to oppressive, tyrannical centralized government through acts of individual sacrifice. This is a lesson our children and grandchildren will likely need.
Strong centralized governments have historically been tyrannical and oppressive by nature. Collins plays that theme like a fiddle as she contrasts the opulence and gluttonous indulgences of the Capitol with utter poverty and want in the twelve districts outside the Capitol.
The tale goes something like this: once upon a time Panem was a prosperous nation where everybody enjoyed…well, prosperity. One day District 13 rebelled against the central government and reduced the whole nation to poverty.
District 13 was allegedly annihilated and the other twelve districts were submitted to cruel Hunger Games annually to remind “the people” that rebellion against the Capitol is never a good thing. The story begins in the 74th year of the Hunger Games.
In the Hunger Games, a boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected randomly from each district to fight to the death until only one child is left as the victor. The victor’s district wins abundant food for the next year. The event is televised nationally so everyone sees the brutality and killing one might imagine as children are forced to kill other children in barbarous ways.
Of course, those in the Capitol are exempted from having their children play in these games, and they also enjoy year round abundance of food and other delights, not that there are any parallels in America today.
But, I digress. In the first book the heroine and hero both become victors after embarrassing the Capitol into allowing two victors for the first time. You see, rulers in the Capitol are very thinned skinned and demand complete subjection by the masses, not unlike some of our rulers in Washington today. When the two are left at the end of the game, instead of fighting to the death they threaten to commit suicide – bad PR for the Capitol, and a potential trigger for revolution.
And, in fact, the act of bravery does spark a rebellion in several of the isolated districts, unbeknownst to everybody outside of the Capitol (the elite media in the Capitol only report the Capitol line) except corrupt leaders of the individual districts who enforce laws with ruthless police called Peacekeepers. Bless them….
Panem has laws restricting any kind of protest against the Capitol, sort of like HR 347, the bill President Obama signed last week prohibiting any kind of protest against him or anyone under Secret Service protection in any arena where he travels. Don’t get me wrong. Americans can still protest Mr. Obama’s policies, but just not in his presence.
Sorry, I keep digressing because Collins’ trilogy has so many parallels with Washington’s centralized government taking over America at the expense of our individual rights and freedoms.
I recommend reading “The Hunger Games” especially for young folks (13 and older) who can gain a vision of how individuals can rise up against the tyranny of oppressive centralized government and media to gain inalienable rights granted to every one of us by our Creator.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, MS. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com, or interact with him on the Clarion-Ledger feature blog site http://www.clarionledger.com/section/blogs06 . Gardner’s columns are also featured on http://dannygardner.opinioneditorial.com/