Why Even Child Abuse Needs Analogy

I have been searching for the right analogy to describe the contradiction displayed when a person runs for and becomes elected to public office with the stated intention of dismantling the regulations and institutions that make up the government itself (think Ronald Reagan, at times Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, the entire Tea Party, Libertarians…) I will of course report it here first because I think we are in dire need of a way to explain why that is so incredibly destructive to the people who are simply not getting that they are actually tearing themselves and their communities down in the process.

As I am going through this creative process, I am paying even closer attention than I normally do to the way writers use analogy and metaphor to express concepts and ideas, a skill I have retapped from when I was teaching. And I guess because I am so tuned in, I was profoundly affected by the way writer and blogger John Scalzi used an Ursula Le Guin story to frame his very concise description of the way adults failed to protect children in the Penn State child molestation scandal. The story describes a utopia where everyone is perfectly happy and well cared for, with the exception of one child that is kept in a miserable and disgusting solitary confinement. Each citizen is ultimately told of the child and then must make the decision whether or not to accept that their seemingly perfect existence requires the constant suffering of an innocent child. Obviously, this means that everyone who has been living there knows and has done nothing to protect the child.

This powerful and simple metaphor should give every single person who reads about the adults’ lack of action in protecting the children that were sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky the clarity to understand that all of these adults willfully chose to let a child suffer to protect their utopia that was Penn State. And yes, that includes the man at the top himself, Joe Paterno. Few things in life are black and white, almost none. The one exception: there is nothing defensible about doing the least to protect a child from being raped by an adult. Not. One. Thing.

Please read John Scalzi’s excellent piece here.

And stay tuned for my breakthrough analogy on government and it’s elected officials.

4 thoughts on “Why Even Child Abuse Needs Analogy

    1. we clearly live off the same brain b/c the Alyssa from Think Progress post was the first one I read this morning and found the Scalzi one from a commenter in her responses. she then linked to it later today. OH MY F*CKING GOD WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ALL OF THEM?! and the students just acting like a bunch of yahoos?! sad sad sad sad sad day for human behavior.

    2. Their canning him was NOT a decent thing, it was too little, too late, and done only because Paterno embarrassed PSU. SHAME on them ALL!!!!

      1. way too little too late for sure, but decent in the sense that it is one minuscule step toward appropriate action. I am so deeply emotionally shocked by this whole story I almost don’t know what to do with myself. I wish I could unsee what I have read. agreed, shame shame shame to them all.

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