Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I just finished reading The Giver again. It is a powerful book, in my humble estimation. It informs my life. It touches my heart.

Yesterday I listened to the President --- President Obama, that is --- give his speech to students everywhere, encouraging them to work hard and be responsible, dependable, and productive. All right, I think!

I think of the way the world is cast around me by those who have the greatest power to mold it. Primarily, I'm thinking of the media and the rich corporations and individuals who own and control it, specifically, the mass media, who, it seems, always wants to make everything a spectacular competition, pitting two teams against each other --- may the best competitor win. And increase our ratings!

Of course, no matter who the players are, the mass media wants them to be the most competitive with each other. It ups the ante. It increases the viewers. It maximizes the gate. It makes the issue more like the Super Bowl, the final game of the NBA finals. Before his speech, the mass media cast the President's giving it as a competition between extremes: the President, who they characterize as a liberal, and the radical conservatives, who claimed their kids didn't have to listen. (I've got news for them, their kids never have to listen, and most of them don't. They are just like their parents.)

Sometimes these manipulations irritate me to no end. Pitting everything in the extreme doesn't seem to do much to advance the causes that need to be dealt with.

Life in The Giver is supposed to be utopian. Those who govern have total control. Everybody has a job in a field where they are completely capable of handling it and do. There is no disorder. War doesn't exist. Pain is totally relieved. You don't have to make a choice, because it's made for you.

The more I think about it and explore it, the more I'm convinced that the real evil out there is the notion that there is always a black-and-white, up and down, this or that. That is just not how things are. There are gradations in almost everything. And I'm not too sure about the modifier "almost". So you see, I am not opposed to competitions. I love my football and basketball when well matched teams are pitted against each other. I plan to listen tonight to the President on healthcare. Of course, he is pitted as such a liberal over against those ultra-conservatives.

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