Monday, March 02, 2015

Governing Different Worlds

Government meeting in Brazil
"Brazilian cabinet meeting"
What are the purposes of governments?
Mr. Jorgensen
7th Grade Humanities, SP
      Over the course of last week, my humanities class mates and I learned many things about forms of governments from the past. An activity we did, we brainstormed a couple of characteristics that represent a good government. We'd decided upon a couple important elements. Firstly, governments have to enforce the law. There can't be any tresspassing. If somebody breaks the law, action must be taken to ensure that that citizen doesn't break the law a second time. Also, if government members let the law slip by for one person who broke it but not for another person who broke the law, they shouldn't be governing as it isn't fair to the citizen who get's punishment. That leads to another thing: governments have to be honest. They have to be honest to the citizens about the laws. Though they also have to be honest with things such as if they have a lack of resources. For example: Brazil. One and a half years ago, the government in the South American country knew there were going to be water shortages, but they hadn't told citizens, hoping the problem would improve. Now, in 2015, the government is thinking of plans to cut off water for long periods of time to be able to save water. Brazilian citizens are frustrated that the government has kept this news from them. This is a saddening example of how a government wasn't honest to it's citizens. Additionally, a government has to improve the country. They can do this in many ways. Staying up-to-date with the rest of the world could help as well. Say that one country has invented something, such as a teleporter. Other countries who communicate with that nation could figure out that having this invention could help them as well. Owning the newest, high-tech technology vastly modernizes a country. Also, having laws and enforcing them, as was stated before, helps create a more unified country. Being able to work with one another and follow the same orders makes living a lot easier, and that improves the country as well. Furthermore, a government needs to be able to motivate a country. You might be wondering how a government could do that. They don't stand on the side lines of a soccer match and call out inspirational phrases. No, they should do it another way. Using the example of the lack of water in Brazil, something the government could be doing is saying positive things about the situation. Newspapers only publicize the negative things, as that is the only thing they are hearing form the government. If members of the 'ruling' body are interviewed and say things such as: "Our weather technology is forecasting more showers, which could increase our water level," or state ways to improve such as "please shower for a shorter time, as lessening the amount of water use could improve our situation," citizens feel more reassured that the problem isn't so bad. In doing so they feel more protected by people they chose to be in the government.
"White House"
Washington, D.C.

     As you can see in the image up top, my class brainstormed many more ideas such as promoting cultural diversity, keeping order and peace, and controlling military, though the ones I just talked about are the characteristics that stood out to me the most.

In the Giver, does the government fulfil the requirements of a government?
     Before Carnaval break, my 7th grade Humanities class finished reading the inspiring, touching book: The Giver. This was written by Lois Lowry.
Before we get into it, I'll give you some background knowledge on the way of being in the Giver. The world in which characters form this book live in is a dystopian time. They don't have basic things in life such as colours, weather, or curiosity. Their government has shut off all these things. Only one person in the community, the Receiver, can have knowledge on the past, so that in times of need, he can give knowledge on these things. For example, a 'family unit' can only have two children: a boy and a girl, though some citizens wanted bigger families. They went to the community Elders [government] to ask if they could, and the Elders went to the Receiver, who said it'd be best not to have bigger families as that could risk lack of food and hunger. I hope that helped you [the reader], understand some basic things about their government.
This is in the beginning of the movie, there is no colour.
To start off, the government in this book would most likely fit under the group: oligarchy, as it is a small group of people who rule the community. Though you wouldn't just be able to place it under a type of government and be done. This way of controlling a community is much more complex. It seems like Ms. Lowry spent a lot of time meticulously creating the little details that formed the ruling body in the Giver. Let us start of with laws in this community. In the book though, they are called rules. Citizens aren't aware of the difference, though. A law controls a larger area, though a rule is part of a smaller circle of activities. The 'laws' in this community are constantly regulated. There are speakers, microphones, and video cameras installed everywhere in the community; in houses, in offices, in hospitals. People who work for the committee of Elders [the government] can listen to what people say and see what they are doing. If they violate a minor law or rule, they are chastised anonymously, but publicly. A speaker would suddenly announce something like: "Attention. This is a reminder to all females under nine that hair ribbons are to be neatly tied at all times." (23) This is an example of how the government in the Giver enforces the 'law'. Since these rules are so strict and so carefully controlled, there is definite order, and all these things to follow prevent conflicts. It unifies the community as they don't have to argue about anything. They can simply work together and not be uncomfortable with one another. Continuing on, the government definitely controls resources. A morning, afternoon, and evening meal is sent to each and every single home that is in the community. Because of this, all citizens have the same weight. If somebody gains a bit of weight, their next meal would be smaller, or it would include something like a pill to lose weight. (Son, Lois Lowry) To be more clear, governments can easily regulate the consumption of food and drinks through this. Adding on, since they have climate control (83) in their community, things such as a scorching sun or freezing wind doesn't affect their needs. Citizens don't need to drink specific colder or hotter beverages for example.

Holding hands: forbidden. This is in the movie
The last characteristic I'm going to share is about providing freedom, which the committee of Elders does not do at all. Freedom is many things. To be free, is to be able to say what you want, to do what you want, and to act the way you feel is right. This community doesn't accept any of these things. One of the rules is precision of language, which forces citizens to speak 'correctly'. A word that would break that rule, is love. It is a concept and a thing that citizens in that world don't know about. (125) As love could create minor conflicts, they prohibit it. People can't touch each other unless they are in their family unit (The Giver Movie), showing that they can't act the way they want to or do things that they would have wanted to do.
     As was said before, there are many more characteristics of a government, though these to me, are the most important for the Giver.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rosanne,
    Wow, your blogpost was really good and really moved me. I love how you use example of how Brasil lied about the water shorteged. Back then, they had the possibility to end it right then and right now. Also, I fully agree with you on how has to improve a country in every way they can. I liked how you wrote about what the government in the Giver gives them. Things such as fair rights, and everything being the same. Also, I agree with you how nobody has freedom in their world, but in ours, we have all the freedom we want. Freedom of travel, freedom of speech and freedom of anything listed in the Bill of Rights or any commission of rights in any country. Well overall, I think that your blogpost is great and put a lot of effort into it. Keep it up!


    Jack Nanez