Chris had a teacher who once quoted "Those who do not read History are doomed to repeat it." Of course, the teacher explained in the context of his/her class that if a student didn't study then they would be doomed to repeat the class. But I've heard it as well. Most of our very good, wise presidents (Lincoln is one example) studied History. They realized they needed to learn from the mistakes of past presidents and past countries.
Elizabeth and I are studying History these days in home school. Some of it is very interesting - okay I find all of it interesting, but Lizzie could most likely care less. We've learned the reasons behind people coming to start new in our country from the beginning. First, many of them came because they figured their lives couldn't be much worse in the New World than they were back in the land the emigrated here from. Second, they face religious persecution. We all have heard about the Quakers, the Hugeonots, the Puritans, and many other religions that chose to start over here in America so they could worship God freely. Finally, many people chose to come here because they no longer had the freedom to speak their minds. In their home lands they would be killed, thrown in prison, or worse if they spoke out against the governments. France is a good example: Because our Revolutionary War was so successful, the French found the courage to fight for their own freedom from monarchies that did not have their best interests at heart.
For over 200 years now we have had freedom of speech, to bear arms in war times, freedom to live our lives, worship God (or gods for some other religions) as we chose too. September 11, 2001 changed some of that. It started an slow slide onto a slippery slope. Understandably people were afraid. Until September 11th the last time our country had been attacked in such an awful manner was Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked us bringing us into World War II. So we passed the Patriot Act. This opened a door or started our slide into giving up our inalienable rights to stand for what we believe in. And since then we are slowly losing our freedom one bill at a time.
I have no doubt that the government had good intentions when passing the Patriot Act. But just as the Germans handed over power to Hitler shortly before World War II and never got it back until his defeat, we are heading in the same direction. It starts with fear and allowing people to make us promises. "Give me power for 90 days to do as I see fit, then I'll hand the reins back over to you." Hitler made this promise, he was insane, but very smart. He lied with half truths. Bette Greene wrote about in Summer of My German Soldier. Anton explains to Patty, Hitler started with half truths. "The German people are starving." This was true, after World War I we had left Germany in a terrible state (hence the Geneva Convention after World War II). However, Hitler laid the blame at the feet of the Jewish people for Germany's woes. This was a lie - obviously, Germany had their troubles because the Kaiser had started what would become World War I. We see this even now. Propaganda, it's happening now here in our country. The media that was once supposed to be objective and just tell the truth, slants the truth as they want it, or how the government wants it. Our country is slowly falling into the trap that the German and Russian people fell into.
Our country is in terrible economic shape - our current president and the previous one are spending more than we bring in. When thing get tough, people get desperate. Hurricane Katrina could not have been planned, it's weather, but the government didn't stop the gouging on gasoline prices that have driven up the cost of living here in the United States. Our country is literally falling not from outside forces but from our own arrogance and our own desire to turn a blind eye to those things happening around us.
I've been reading the Hunger Games - And honestly, it reminds me of Rome with it's lavious and gluttonous parties but it's President, President Snow reminds me of dictators in the past. Those who rule with an iron fist, those who punish in horrible ways if you disagree with them in any way. The worst part is, I can see if slowly happening to our country. I worry that too many Americans are sleeping and will not awaken until it is too late to fight back and stop it from happening.
One of the only disadvantages I can think of about loving books, is that you begin to see the possibilities of those things you read in books becoming a reality in your world. Reading opens your eyes to new ideas, possibilities and the opportunities for good and bad things to happen.
There isn't a huge point to this blog post, except that I have to be honest. I am afraid. Afraid of our current goverment, I'm afraid that too many Americans have been lulled into believing the lies sold to us by the media and the government. I am afraid that one day we will wake up and find ourselves in a dictatorship and that my daughters will not know freedom or my grandchildren will not be able to remain in this country. Maybe it's the book getting to me, but I don't think it is, since I've worried about this for some time prior to reading The Hunger Games books. The trilogy only made me want to speak out more than I would have before.
I hope you all have a good week.