Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What? This can't be...

...but we are the compassionate, morally-evolved ones!!!!

In 1973, award-winning science fiction author Ursula Le Guin published a very short story-essay titled “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” It described a dreamlike summer festival in Omelas, a beautiful city that embodies everyone’s utopia, a magical place where everyone was joyful, a place where sorrow never touched the citizens or guests. But beneath that city lay a secret: all its joy and pleasure depended on the suffering and misery of a single lonely, abused child living in a filthy basement. If that child were saved, all of Omelas would fall, its beauty and perfection lost.

The citizens of Omelas, when they reached a certain age, were taken below to view the child so that they might understand their civilization. Most rationalized the suffering, as was encouraged: the child was mentally defective anyway, it could never be happy now if taken out, it was incapable of appreciating the beauty of the world like others. Only a few could not bear the truth, but instead of removing the child and Omelas be damned, they walked away, leaving for parts unknown.

America has had a summer of Omelas. We are being shown how our society has built itself around the suffering of children about whom no one cares: babies just formed who are sacrificed for the sake of convenience and science. Mothers who are unready to become mothers (though the life in their wombs proves that decision has already been made), their partners who are unwilling to support a child emotionally or financially, women who are simply afraid or pressured into having an abortion — all seek euphemisms for the life-shattering act they are about to take: ending a pregnancy, taking care of the problem, taking care of their reproductive health. There are fifty ways and more to say it.//


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