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In Defense of 'The Hunger Games' Capitol

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Nov 11, 2013 | 4:45pm EST

The Hunger GamesLionsgate

As the 75th Annual Hunger Games draw closer, we find ourselves on the eve of the celebrations facing the same issues that we have debated for years now. Namely, what is the purpose of the Games, and why does our government insist on sending children, year in and year out, into an Arena to fight each other? Can we really call the government of Panem a good government if it inflicts such a punishment on its people? The answer is, of course, yes: President Snow and the government of Panem cares deeply for its people, and if we look at the Games and their history, we can see that the Hunger Games are the government's way of showcasing that affection. 

Let us not forget the tragic events that brought about the creation of the Games those long years ago: the Dark Days, when the districts rebelled against their government and brought about the needless deaths of so many, and the complete destruction of an entire district. If it were not for the Capitol, Districts 1 through 12 could have — and likely would have – ended up with the same sad fate that befell District 13, resulting in the devastation of Panem’s land, population and resources. Who would be left to farm or fish or acquire the lumber needed to build homes, or mine the coal needed for energy? Would there even be any of these precious resources left available to us after the total devastation of war? Probably not.

And that’s saying nothing about the people who live in the Capitol, who depend entirely on the kindness and resources that the Districts provide. Not only is the Capitol the most heavily and densely populated area of Panem, but they lack the ability to provide for themselves, as they lack the skills and access to the needed resources that the Districts have in abundance. Could we, as a nation, really have condemned so many innocent people to suffering and death because of the actions of a few? Is it not, instead, better to dispose of those few in order to protect the good of all of Panem?

It is such an attitude that inspired the Games. Yes, each year we must condemn a few members of our society to fight each other. Since the games have begun, rebellions against the Capitol have disappeared almost entirely, resulting in a peaceful, happy Panem. We must remind ourselves the consequences that come with rebelling against the kindness of the Capitol and President Snow, and we must discourage others who would let their desire for anarchy destroy the lives and livelihoods of the rest of us. Keeping a country happy does not come for free, and the Games are a testament to that fact. Sacrificing a few citizens every year in order to protect the nation as a whole seems to be a reasonable price.

In addition to reminding ourselves of the unnecessary tragedy that comes with rebellion, the Hunger Games are a reminder of the Capitol’s protection. They were benevolent enough to accept back the Districts who rebelled in order to keep Panem whole and end the war before the devastation became even more widespread. The government did not have to accept the District’s surrender, but they chose to be kind and forgiving. They could have abandoned the rest of the Districts, as the Capitol had a monetary and tactical advantage that may have resulted in the total destruction of the rest of Panem. Instead, they chose to forgive and to make our nation one strong, solitary entity once again.

The Games are considered by many to be a punishment for the crimes of the rebels, but if they are, it is only a punishment given out of love. When a child misbehaves, doesn’t a parent prove how much they care by punishing the child so that they learn a lesson? The rebels of the Dark Days, and those who stood by and allowed the rebellions to happen were misbehaving children, and the Capitol enstated the Hunger Games as punishment to teach us the consequences of our actions so that we may be better. And we have become better; the Capitol and Districts are prosperous, and there have yet to be any more significant rebellions. The government has taught us a lesson, which we have taken on in order to make Panem a better place for us and for our children. However, if that punishment goes away, there is a chance that we will forget that lesson, which will only plunge Panem back into chaos and anarchy and undo all of the progress we have made in these past 75 years.

The government of Panem wants to protect its citizens, from both external and internal threats, and the Games are their way of showcasing that desire for protection. The other thing the Games are good at showcasing is the power that the government holds, and is able wield against the enemies of its people. It’s important for us to be aware of how powerful and influential the Capitol is, in order to feel safe and comforted in the knowledge that our government has the resources, weapons, and intelligence to neutralize any threat to the happiness of Panem.

Even when looked at from a more frivolous point of view, the Hunger Games are a well-loved tradition of the people. As we approach the Games’ 75th anniversary, think of how many families hold dear their memories of watching the Games together and cheering for the Tributes from their District. To cancel the Games would mean depriving generations of the priceless memories that we’ve been lucky enough to share for so long. The Games have become an important part of our lives; they distract us from the hardships and stresses of our daily lives, they help bond Districts together, they give us something to look forward to during the year. The Hunger Games are as vital a part of Panem as the mountains, rivers and forests that make up the land. If we take away the Games, we’re taking away a part of ourselves.

The most hotly-contested issue in the run up to the Third Quarter Quell is that of choosing Tributes from among the living Victors. We are not an unfeeling society, and so this is an issue that weighs heavily on all of us. After all, can we really feel comfortable rooting for these people to fight when we’ve already seen them endure the challenges and pain that come with fighting in the Arena? It’s going to be hard to watch people we have grown to care about go through this ordeal all over again, but we must, like always, trust that our government is making the right decision. The Quarter Quell is a significant time for us, when it becomes even more important for us to remember those lost in the Dark Days and strive towards keeping Panem peaceful. It’s been 75 years since those revolts, meaning that a majority of our population were too young to experience or understand the impact that they had. Therefore, it’s important that we are reminded at the Quarter Quells just how lucky we are to live in a nation where we have such plentiful resources, such happy, skilled people, and a government that cares so much about us and our protection.

So, as we prepare for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, I say to the people of Panem: keep the Games. Understand their history, and celebrate our nation’s peace with your District. And may the odds be ever in your favor!

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