You know the craziness of the world has finally got to you when you read Lord of the Flies with your 14-year old son for his school and see so much of the world today in its pages that you literally break down. The theme of this book definitely made more sense as an adult than it ever did as a tenth grader.
Slogging through this book the last month has been tough, not because William Golding was a horrible writer, but because his book is so accurate to what happens when people are overcome by the savagery of power and forget to be civilized.
We are not stranded on an island, no, but our world, especially our country right now, is in the throws of two warring sides fighting for power and not caring who gets killed in the process. People with common sense who just want to live their lives without being accused of being racist, homophobic, transphobic, or Grandma killers simply based on the color of our skin or the way we worship are Piggy on the rocks with his head split open.
Everyday citizens who want to go to work, earn money, support their family, and spend time with that family are Simon bleeding on the beach and being washed out to sea while savages watch with wild eyes and blood-soaked chests, breathing heavy and ready for the next kill.
Politicians scream it at each other from across the aisle, across the hallways of our government buildings, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
People who don’t want to hear a dissenting opinion, so they demand the removal of books, of entertainment, of people, “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”
No longer do we just want to tell someone they are wrong, we want them to die, and when they die we dance around their bodies chanting our joy at their demise.
“He was a conservative! I’m glad he’s dead!”
“He was a leftist and hell is now where he burns!”
“He killed babies in the womb and we should rejoice he is rotting in the ground!”
“She said she loved babies but really she hated women and didn’t want them to have freedoms! We will dance around this fire with her blood on our hands and laugh at her destruction!”
I read the last few chapters of Lord of the Flies, horrified, sick to my stomach, literally ready to run from the house and find somewhere to hide so the beast couldn’t get me. Only, in reality, the beast isn’t a dead parachuter who fell from the sky during battle.
The beast is the ugliness this world espouses at us every day now.
The beast is the darkness of the souls of men that we see every day on social media when someone says we should lock this person up and watch them die, or we need to remove this or that group from our world so they can do no harm.
The beast is wanting voices different from our own to be silenced.
The beast is using children as pawns in our ridiculous political fights – sacrificing their mental and physical well-being to gain political points.
The beast is “got-you” statements on social media that replace real compassion, real hope, real efforts to help those hurting and in need.
Headlines declare, “So-and-so blasts so-and-so” and the tribe cheers. “That’s right! You tell them! You grab the conch and give ‘em hell!”
All the while no one realizes that words mean nothing until eventually, they mean something when they stir the tribe into a frenzy and the tribe members lash out in violence, burning entire forests down to get to one person, not even caring who dies to flush out that one thing, that one belief, that one dissenting opinion the tribe wanted destroyed.
“And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”
The saying is true. We don’t know what we had until it’s gone.
Do you miss it yet?