“Some of them were hard at work crafting the new language, and they came up with more than a few winners; the enemy they faced would not succumb to psychological warfare, but that didn’t mean that the principles needed to remain unutilized.” (Whitehead 99). In this sentence, the narrator states that even though the government’s change in language can’t be used to control the zombies, it can be used to control the surviving humans. The sentence reveals the priorities of the government in the book: capitalism. Instead of focusing on aiding the humans, going as far as ceasing to look for a cure, they use their resources and power to further control them. The government does not care so much as to reconstruct the world as it was and aid those who survived through the apocalypse or give them support for their PASD. Instead, it seeks to maintain and expand the realms of capitalism.They want to create a new kind of zombie; the consumer.
Whitehead uses the events from the book to parallel what is happening in the real world. Specifically, the government’s negligence when it comes to those who serve them. The sweepers mirror veterans in real life, they too suffer from a type of PTSD from violence they face or partake in, and in return are met with the bare minimum from their respective governments. They’re used as pawns to promote a rhetoric, in real life that is often blind patriotism, while in the book it is capitalism. A daunting similarity, is the way in which people in the book and in real life, are drawn to those positions. They are promised a sense of purpose and told what they’re doing is for the greater good, but in the end are met with negligence.
The governments in both scenarios don’t really emphasize helping those who serve them, they just want to keep making money, and capitalize off people’s suffering. The U.S. military budget for 2019 is $716 billion (Stein), while an E1 Private in 2018 made $19,659.60‒excluding bonuses and allowances‒(Army Pay).
There’s a blatant disparity in the numbers. In 2017, the state with the highest rate of enlistment was Georgia (Clark). According to the website Livability.com, the most affordable place to live in Georgia is Warner Robins, where the median income is $42,795, nowhere close to the military salary people receive (Burch). In an eerily similar way, sweepers are under compensated for their services. They are forced to spend nights in abandoned buildings on sleeping bags or in tents enclosed in glorified campgrounds, while the elites get to lounge in Buffalo pretending to help the world. Sweepers are not even allowed to touch or take from the abandoned buildings they spend hours clearing of zombies, no, they have to leave everything as is for the future tenants who will fuel the government’s capitalist endeavors.
“Army Pay Chart & Army Base Pay – Active Duty.” Goarmy.Com, http://www.goarmy.com/benefits/money/basic-pay-active-duty-soldiers.html. Accessed 27 Sept. 2018.
Burch, Bonnie. “The 6 Most Affordable Cities in Georgia.” Livability, 23 Jan. 2018, https://livability.com/ga/business/the-6-most-affordable-cities-in-georgia
Clark, James. “These States Have The Highest (And Lowest) Enlistment Rates In America.” Task & Purpose, 27 June 2017, https://taskandpurpose.com/states-highest-lowest-enlistment-rates.
Stein, Jeff. “Analysis | U.S. Military Budget Inches Closer to $1 Trillion Mark, as Concerns over Federal Deficit Grow.” Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/19/u-s-military-budget-inches-closer-to-1-trillion-mark-as-concerns-over-federal-deficit-grow/. Accessed 27 Sept. 2018.
Whitehead, Colson. Zone One: A Novel. 2012.