When I was 11-years-old, I was terrified after I finished reading Suzanne Collins’ novel, “The Hunger Games.” A book about a revolt against the government leading to a country’s total destruction scared me. The storyline of the fiction trilogy consists of a dictator in control and an eventual rebel against the government. If you have been paying any attention to the current climate of the United States, you may have noticed this storyline becoming reality.
On Jan. 6, the day started out with the Georgia run-off election ending in Democratic wins in the House through Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The elected representatives made history as Ossoff is the one of the youngest U.S. senators to be elected, and Warnock is the first Black senator to represent Georgia. The son of “82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton,” represents the home state of beloved Martin Luther King Jr. Meanwhile, President Trump was encouraging his supporters to take action. With tweets being typed and a date being set, President Trump’s rally-turned-nightmare stormed the Capitol in revolt against his loss.
A cult-like crowd of Trump supporters swarmed Capitol Hill around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday with mouths hanging outside of their masks in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Live footage and photos flooded social media on the spot, showing dozens of Trump flags with smoke in the background. Men with bullhorns and guns in hand hopped onto window-washing platforms and led chants that said, “U-S-A!,” yet these acts were anything but patriotic.
Two suspected explosives were found in Washington D.C. Congress took shelter, halting the Electoral College certification process. People rummaged through the Capitol building, feet up on desks. After sacrifices were given to prevent the Confederate flag from reaching our nation’s Capitol building, it was waved between the walls. Trump supporters destroyed government property — broke windows, rummaged offices and stole classified documents. Many were proudly dressed in anti-Semitic t-shirts. Behind closed doors, the president was bottling his anger.
It is seen in “The Hunger Games” trilogy that the antagonist, President Snow, is a white-haired, rich, power-hungry dictator demeaning groups of people to get what he wants. In the last book and movie adaptation, President Snow corrupts one of the main characters, Peeta Mellark, into becoming the face of President Snow’s mission to keep his Hunger Games alive. Corruption is well alive; people are finally recognizing such alarming signs in the President’s temper.
Meanwhile, during the day, President-elect Biden advances in his leadership role as he speaks on air. He says: “This is an assault unlike any other time. An assault by Capitol police sworn to protect them.” This observance can be made for Black lives who have been repeatedly harmed, threatened, brutalized and killed by law enforcement throughout 2020, past decades and since the country’s birth. Biden continues, “This does not reflect a true America: they do not represent who we are.” Although these words offer support and hope in time of crisis, this fails to recognize what America is truly founded on. What history textbooks left out is that America was founded on cultural genocide and slavery; the country once broke into the Civil War over it. Biden fails to recognize that this is exactly how America’s current system is set up. Many are wondering how and when the country will be so necessarily deconstructed and reconstructed from the ground up. He concluded with a short statement, “The world is watching.”
A “Hunger Games” movie fanatic may remember this same slogan on the front of the franchise poster, “The world will be watching.” With Hunger Games-level broadcasts and propaganda, the movie resembles real life. If these parallels don’t leave skin crawling, I don’t know what will.
At this time, President Trump finally goes on air to address the events. After so many backs turned and much time passed, he still claims the election was fraudulent when it has been proven to be a true win. He ends with calling his supporters, specifically the ones who stormed the United States Capitol “very special” and proclaimed, “I love you.” These tactics are similar to how Hitler formed his regime in the 1930s: distrust of media outlets, making certain groups and followers feel “unique,” targeting marginalized groups (e.g. the LGBTQ+ community), and domestic terrorism.
The week ended with one large sigh of relief. President Trump’s personal Twitter account was officially permanently suspended after countless removed tweets and tweets marked with false claims. This kind of collective awareness was also backed by multiple resignations, starting with Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. One by one, members of Trump’s party are beginning to realize the true threat to our democracy. There are only days left to count until we watch the country settle with the dust or burst up into flames.
I do not want to believe that the entirety of “The Hunger Games” could ever come true, but the similarities I saw between my fifth-grade fear and our present-day reality has me stunned. It was not until that evening that I realized my hair was in braids. Much like the main rebel and protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, my randomly-chosen hairstyle for the day alarmingly alluded to the growing knot in my stomach. There has been a revolt in the Capitol. If such major pieces of history and literature have taught us one thing, it is to not repeat it.
In recent updates, the Senate declared President Trump to have been impeached a second time. Weeks later, after the indictment, Donald Trump is officially the first president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House twice and acquitted both times. The Senate needed seven more Republican senators to vote for a trial, including Mitch McConnell, who previously proclaimed Trump’s guilt. This means currently Trump could run again for a second term in office. On the other hand, to leave with a hopeful note, The Financial Times says Trump’s legal troubles are far from over despite the acquittal.
Kristine Kearns is a first-year English major with a minor in Creative Writing. KK947319@wcupa.edu