Why was Diana Moon Glampers so afraid of Harrison Bergeron breaking free of his handicaps?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Diana Moon Glampers, who is the Handicapper General of the United States in 2081, must make sure all citizens comply with their handicaps in order to enforce the "211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution." Harrison Bergeron has previously shown that he is unwilling to comply with the forced equality mandated by the United States, so he has been serving time in prison. Hazel and George discuss the reason why not even one person can be allowed to take a break from the handicaps: If someone were to try to get away with it, then others would follow that example, and soon the society would be plunged back into the dark ages "with everybody competing against everybody else." George understands that "the minute people start cheating on laws," society would "fall all apart." The Bergerons have been firmly indoctrinated with this philosophy, perhaps recently in person by the H-G men who arrested their son. Therefore, when Harrison Bergeron openly flaunts his society's rules of equality by tearing off his handicaps on live television, daring the world to "watch [him] become what [he] can become," Diana Moon Glampers must quickly make a public spectacle of him to prevent others from imitating him and embracing their individuality. The society she works for hinges on unquestioning compliance, so she must immediately squelch any rebellious acts before they inspire more people to think for themselves.