Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Walking Dead: Live or Die in "18 Miles Out"

Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, “18 Miles Out,” had at its center the choice we make to live or die when faced with extraordinarily difficult circumstances. If you lived in a world where there were more zombies than live human beings, would you continue to fight for some sort of life or would you give up and welcome death?

I just finished reading The Giver with my eighth graders. If you haven’t read it—don’t worry—we’re beginning to live it. It’s the world of Sameness. Everyone lives in the same kind of dwelling. There is no upper, middle, or lower class. The government chooses your job for you. The government feeds you. The government chooses your spouse for you and provides children for you via “birth mothers”—surrogates who are impregnated three times in three years and then become laborers. (I enjoy the irony in that every time I read it.)

No one wants for anything because the government provides it all. No one has to think for himself or herself. There is no creativity. There is no color. There is no music. No one minds because it’s been like that for so long that the only person who remembers anything different is The Giver.

The government also decides when you’ve outlived your usefulness, when you’ve become a burden on society, and they “release” you from the community. They put a syringe in your arm and kill you. Anybody remember Obama’s statement when he was campaigning about giving Grandma a pill when she’s diagnosed with a terminal disease?

It’s a horrible world in The Giver when contrasted with the world we still have—the world where we can educate ourselves, choose our own paths, get up off our own asses and make our own lives. My eighth graders still recognize that the world of choice and personal freedoms is a better place to live than the community of Sameness in the world of The Giver.

When we finished the book, one of my students asked me if I would “apply for release” if I lived in The Giver’s world. (The community members can do this; they don’t know they’ll be killed.) Would it be better to die than to live in such a world?

I think in both instances I’d choose life. I’d believe that somehow, someway, we’d make a life and the zombies would eventually really and truly die. We’d be able to start over.

I think if I lived in The Giver’s community and I knew the difference between Sameness and a world of personal freedoms, I’d fight against a government that denied me the life I have now.

In fact, that’s what I’m doing.

Cherish the choices you have. Guard them. The government does not know better than you what is best for you. You do not need them to take care of you. You are not entitled to a better life simply because you’re living and breathing. You’re entitled to the best life you can carve out for yourself. And you’re living in the best country in the world to make the best life for yourself because of the Constitution of the United States.

Don't choose the easy way out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Government knows better than Mom what preschooler should eat?

With the new FDA guidelines that schools have to adhere to, we are now living in a country where the government can tell school-age children that their parents aren’t feeding them properly, but the government will take care of them and do it right.

When a school-age child brings a sack lunch from home, food inspectors have to check that sack lunch to ensure it meets dietary guidelines. If the inspector decides it does not meet those guidelines, then the school “supplements” the child’s sack lunch with a school lunch, often charging the parents for that school-provided meal.

I’m not making this up. Read this article from the Feb. 14 issue of the Carolina Journal. A preschool child had a sack lunch with a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips, and apple juice. The inspector said she also needed a vegetable and made her take a whole tray of food from the cafeteria. What did the child end up eating? Three chicken nuggets from the tray. Nothing else. She took her sack lunch home, untouched.

The issue is not whether or not the lunch provided by the mother met the guidelines (which it did). The issue is that there are guidelines that parents have to follow when packing their children’s lunches. The issue is that the government has the power to say, “You’re not feeding your children right. We know better. Let us take care of you.” That is the issue. That is the message this government wants our children growing up to believe.

I treasure my personal freedoms provided to me by the Constitution of this great country. The same great country, may I remind—or inform, if you didn’t know this before—my readers that was maligned by Barak Obama’s “former” preacher. The preacher whose church the Obamas attended for more than 20 years. The preacher who married Barak and Michelle Obama. The preacher who was caught on tape saying, “God bless America? I say, ‘Goddamn America!'”

And I would say our president is taking that message to heart. He is damning our country and those of us who live here. He and his policy makers are stepping all over our freedoms. He is hell-bent on making us dependent on the government for more and more and more. He is hell-bent on dividing us and pitting us against each other. He is hell-bent on creating a generation of citizens who believe they are entitled to things they haven’t earned simply because they exist.

I work. I strive to be successful. I take pride in my work and in my success. I don’t want a handout. I want the FREEDOM to grow and live and learn. I want to know there are people who have accomplished more than I have because they give me something to dream about, not just for me but for my daughter and for her future children.

I want to continue to live in a world where I’m allowed to write a blog like this, knowing I won’t be arrested for it. In many countries in the world, I couldn’t do this without risk of great harm to myself and those I love.

Don’t give away your freedoms. Don’t ask for the government to provide for you. Before you know it, the government will be deciding where you live, where you work, and how many children you can have. It’s what he wants.

Be scared. Be active. Vote him out.