Orwell on Trump

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth.”

1984

1984
George Orwell

Many years ago, in the summer between graduating from St. Raymond’s Elementary School in the Bronx, NY and beginning high school at Fordham Prep I received a reading list that changed my world.

Fordham sent hundreds of book choices to its incoming freshmen…with the instruction to read any 30.  That summer, from basketball court to beach, I went everywhere with a book.  My view of the world and how it worked expanded beyond the bounds of Parkchester, the housing project where I grew up.

In today’s politics, three of those books stand out: 1984 and Animal Farm, written in 1945 and 1949 by George Orwell and Brave New World written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley.  It’s 1984 that I find myself thinking most about today as I try to understand the confusion our recent election and the debasement of our electoral process.

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs   in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them.”     Orwell, 1984

Destroying truth in favor of a chosen reality has been going on in our politics, talk radio, talk TV and the internet for many years now.  if scientific proof is inconvenient, it can be replaced by voices repeated loudly and often. We have certainly seen that in the fight over protecting our environment. It occurs over and over in policy arguments. And, if a political argument is weak, character assassination is a convenient alternative.

“The party seeks power entirely for its own sake.  We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.”   Orwell, 1984

In this environment, Donald Trump was not a surprise.  He was a predictable outcome.  The failure of the parties to produce – to work in compromise – allowed him to present himself as a strong man solution.

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”
Orwell, 1984

Early in the campaign, during the primaries, it was observed that Trump used his rallies and interviews to test his insults and lies. If they got a strong response – they were repeated often.  For example, his assault on Ted Cruz…

“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being —    you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said Tuesday during a phone interview with Fox News. “What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.”

If they did not catch with his audience, like a mocking of Bernie Sanders for a hernia operation, they were dropped.

Unlike Orwell’s Big Brother, whose lies required a systematic bureaucratic erasing of the truth, Trump ran his campaign as a one man show…say it loud, say it proud, mix it up with contradictions and convince people that only what you say matters…that you are the only solution.  It’s the show that brings a new reality.

“Power is tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
Orwell, 1984

So where does this take us?

There are two paths…

The first is that we will find that lying to 325 million people is different from cutting deals with individuals.  The good people who believed in him will remember his words that came before and see them shifting as he takes power. They will reject his opportunism.  The other good people who didn’t support him will continue to assert their democratic role.  America will revert to the core values that brought it greatness through our imperfect union, an open and free society where people can honestly discuss their disagreements.

 The other path is darker.  We further cede our freedom to  the person who said, “I alone can fix it.”‘

For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?”      Orwell, 1984

1984-cover

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2 thoughts on “Orwell on Trump”

  1. Rino (or is it Republican in name only, LOL?) – please note that this country is NOT a democracy, but rather a democratic Constitutional Republic. A democracy allows the people to decide all issues, a Constitutional Republic is a representative government where the people elect their representatives (Congressmen, Senators) to vote on their behalf.

    You contend, “Citizens simply want America to work…to bring us jobs and stability. We want people who will talk to each other, listen and find – or create – common ground.”

    I agree. Donald J. Trump spoke to the concerns of the working class Americans and it resonated rather well on Election Day. November 8th was a historic election where the elites of both political parties as well as the Fourth Estate (news media) were repudiated by the people. While it may have been a surprise to the elitists and their minions, it was no surprise to the hard workers of America. Finally, the forgotten man and woman will have their voices heard in the nation’s capital! Before the election, even Michael Moore was warning the elitists that Trump would win.

    I do not argue that Donald Trump was the best candidate, nor do I argue that he would make a great pastor. But he was the only candidate who actually listened and heard the cries of the often overlooked and forgotten American worker, whether male or female.

    The global elitists of both parties created this, and the people rose up and challenged the status quo. Evangelicals came out in droves and Donald J. Trump won 81% of that vote. He won at least 30% of the Hispanic vote (I know, because my wife, who is an immigrant from Colombia, was calling her friends in Arizona and Florida to vote for the Trump/Pence ticket!). He won states that haven’t gone to the Republican candidate in years (Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc). In my Election District, the Trump/Pence ticket won 68.53% of the vote, the “I’m with her” candidate won less than 30% of the vote.

    “1984” by George Orwell looked a lot like the invasion of privacy by the NSA as exposed by Mr. Snowden and the hypocrisy of the Democrat National Committee as exposed by WikiLeaks. Bernie Sanders got screwed royally by the DNC (allegedly “neutral” – NOT). Political correctness may have been the hallmark of “1984” and Nazi Germany, but it was soundly rejected with the election of Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence.

    Just take a look at the map of America and how many counties went for the Trump/Pence ticket. How many state legislatures and Governors, how many members of Congress and the US Senate went to the GOP candidates? It was a broad win when the liberal elitists media wanted people to believe that the Queen of Benghazi would be the winner and the election would be called by 10:00 PM. Oops. It was a long, but great, night. I didn’t get to bed until about 4AM.

    Rino, you talk about “truth”. What “truth”? The fiction peddled as “truth” by the media elites? You know, the ones who worked hand in hand with one political campaign to try and destroy the other. The ones who provided one candidate with the questions before the debate. Apparently the so called “news media” follows the precepts and principles of the Nazi Reich Minister of Propaganda, Herr Josef Goebbels, telling the “Big Lie”. Apparently, the “Basket of Deplorables and Irredeemables” did not pay much attention to the followers of the Nazi Reich Minister of Propaganda, as they came out to vote for Donald J. Trump.

    One more point. As a Christian of the Roman Catholic Church, I have deeply held beliefs about the right to life. One candidate was all in for Partial Birth Abortion. My choice was to vote for a candidate who pledged to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who would respect life.

    All this being said, my prayers are for this country, our people, our men and women in uniform who protect our country from attack, our men and women in Blue who are the thin line of Law and Order and who protect our communities and families and our First Responders, First Aid, Fire, and Emergency Management who assist us in times of need. All human lives matter, regardless of color or creed. May God continue to Bless and Protect this country and all of our inhabitants. May God give guidance and wisdom to President-elect Trump and all in his administration. May all we do be pleasing to Him, the true Ruler of our lives.

    Perhaps it would be best for all of us to understand that none of us are perfect (far from it) and that Jesus, the Christ, taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

    If some were devastated by Mr. Trump’s victory, get over it, recognize that yes, there are winners and losers in reality, and join hands with others to help make this country a better nation, a true Beacon of Light and Justice, one Nation, Under God. A nation of whiners and adult crybabies will not help Restore the American Dream for all Americans. Stop kicking God out of the Public Square. Those who have faith will receive God’s Grace of Hope.

    God Bless America!

    Tom

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tom.

      While we were not close while in high school together, you know that Rino is my name and has been my name long before it was adopted as a point of exclusion by more rigid Republicans. You may or may not know that my father, who also carried this name, came to the U.S. as a hard-working immigrant the year before I was born,. I am proud of my name. I am proud of my roots. I am proud of a country that has not been easy…but has been a place with values that allowed for integration and advancement.

      I am not an election denier. I leave that to the birthers and their ilk. However, as I wrote to another commenter in another forum, you can look at the Orwell on Trump blog as a political insult or a cautionary tale. I prefer to look at it as the latter…a view of how patterns repeat themselves in history. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley were writing in a time of great upheaval and uncertainty. They warned about what can happen to good people in times of fear when strong leaders take the stage and rules recede beneath their personalities. We hope for the best for the preservation of the world’s oldest Constitution but also have a role in making sure that the first 229 years were not an end point. As you say, neither of the candidates was close to perfect and all of us want to see success. For me, process has always been more important than product and so, this blog is about the values that I believe keep us strong and where I may see a need for vigilance to preserve those values.

      Take a breath, Tom, enjoy the victory and ask yourself if you would be writing your last paragraph the same way if Clinton won.

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