My daughter and her cousin were playing a game. The name of the game was “Would You Rather.” “Would you rather be eaten by sharks or burned in a fire?” A moment of hesitation. “Eaten by sharks.” “Okay. Would you rather kill your small pet or fall down and scrape your knee?” No hesitation: “Fall down and scrape my knee.” “Right. Now, would you rather be buried alive or drown at sea?” Small pause. “Drown.”
And on and on it goes. What is the object of this game? Why would anybody play it? Is it a way that children prepare themselves for the grown up world with its multitude of illusory forced choices? Pepsi or Coke? Chemotherapy or radiation therapy? Adopt that stray dog in the pound or choose to have it euthanized instead? Institutionalize that homeless person or put him on the dole? Welfare or Labor Camp? Democrat or Republican?
What if we stopped thinking in binary? What if it were okay to say: “Neither, thank you very much.” What if we make our own soda or don’t drink soda at all? What if dogs nobody wanted were left alone as long as they did no one any harm? What if people who had no home were not regarded as a problem for someone else to solve? What if it were legal to be a vagrant, as long as you didn’t bother others? What if people were free to find their own way through life? What if we didn’t have to vote for one of two choices: the one who wants to take our money in order to house and educate and provide work for other people or the one who wants to take our money to kill other people? In the long run, is there much difference between a labor camp and a concentration camp? Why not say no to both? You know it’s not just for other people — the less fortunate– don’t you? In the long run they are making these choices for all of us. Would you rather be on welfare or serve in the military? Would you rather be shot by a cop or be the one doing the shooting at the government’s behest? How about we don’t hesitate, then pick a side. How about we just say “No!”
When people are asked who they will vote for as president, they are being asked “Obama or Romney.” Some say “Obama.” If you ask them why, they answer: “Because Romney is bad.” Some say “Romney.” If you ask them why, they answer: “Because Obama is bad.”
What if they are both bad? “But my candidate is the best choice!” someone responds. Best implies that there are more than two choices. Best is not grammatical if your are just comparing between Obama and Romney. You have to say “better” not “best.” The best choice is neither. ”Would you rather be suffocated for your own good or taken out by a drone?” The best answer is: “No, thank you, to both.” And walk away.
Copyright 2012 Aya Katz